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Women in the Brazil Armed Forces

 
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Personnel and Training - Women in the Armed Forces



Women did not participate in Brazil's armed forces until the early 1980s. The Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into the permanent and career ranks. In 1992, for example, 2,700 women out of 5,000 candidates competed for 136 positions within the Officer's Complementary Corps (Quadro Complementar de Oficiais--QCO).

To begin a career with the army, women must have completed a bachelor's degree in areas such as law, computer science, economics, or accounting. The competition is national in scope, and no applicant may be more than thirty-six years of age. Those accepted into the program study at the army's School of Administration in Salvador, beginning as second lieutenants (reserve). The School of Administration is also open to men. At the end of the one-year course, the graduate is promoted to first lieutenant in the permanent ranks. Generally, the officer is assigned to Brasília.

The navy and air force have incorporated women in their ranks, but in the Women's Reserve Corps. Although their positions are temporary in nature, with regular renewal of contracts these women can rise to officer status. The navy and air force had about 3,200 female troops and officers in 1991. In 1992 the navy promoted its first women to the rank of lieutenant commander. The three services are committed to admitting women in their military academies by the late 1990s. The FAB began accepting women at its academy in 1996, but not as pilots.

In 1991, 25,000 women were serving in state Military Police (Polícia Militar--PM) units. The largest number (2,500) were in the Military Command of the Southeast, in São Paulo. The women generally serve in health and administrative positions, and at all levels of the hierarchy.

Data as of April 1997




 



 


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