Brazilian Army’s First Class of Female Combatants Graduates in 2021

Brazilian Army’s First Class of Female Combatants Graduates in 2021

By Taciana Moury/Diálogo
April 13, 2021

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The year 2021 will go down in history for the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese), with the graduation of the first class of women from the traditional Agulhas Negras Military Academy (AMAN, in Portuguese), a 210-year old institution. This cycle started in 2018, with the unprecedented participation of women, among the 414 new cadets of the Army Cadet Preparatory School.

According to AMAN’s commander, EB Major General Paulo Roberto Rodrigues Pimentel, AMAN will complete an unprecedented cycle in 2021. “The inclusion of women on the front lines is a milestone for women’s empowerment, aligning our institution directly with society,” said Maj. Gen. Pimentel to Diálogo.

Cadet Giovana Abrão Santos (center), a senior student, is one of AMAN’s pioneering female cadets. (Photo: Brazilian Army)

There are currently 141 female cadets enrolled in AMAN’s four-year program. “Of the approximate 450 annual slots, roughly 10 percent are for women,” said AMAN’s commander.

Cadet Giovana Abrão Santos, who will graduate in late 2021, told Diálogo about her expectations at the beginning of her senior year. “Like previous years, operational activities stand out among the challenges, because they have a psychological aspect that women have little experience with. However, I believe that the greatest challenge is to prove that women can work well and honor the space that we earned,” she said.

According to the cadet, who will be graduating from the EB’s Quartermaster Corps, it is very rewarding to be one of AMAN’s female pioneers, but it comes with responsibilities and requirements. “The challenges are no different from those common to all cadets and are faced with the utmost commitment, because we know the image of a female combatant depends on our performance, which will also influence future classes,” she said.

Women have been part of the EB’s scientific, technological, health, and supplementary studies since 1992. “The reality that will present itself now, at the end of the year, will be the inclusion of female officers on the Army’s front lines, in the corps,” said Maj. Gen. Pimentel. “This is a paradigm shift that presents an opportunity for women to contribute even further with the ground force,” he concluded.