In 2020, the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) celebrates the 40th anniversary of the integration of women in its institution. In 1980, Brazil created the Women’s Auxiliary Navy Reserve (CAFRM, in Portuguese) to enable women to work in technical, administrative, and health areas. A lot has changed since then.
Although they represent just over 11 percent of the 76,442 service members in the force, women are increasingly assuming relevant roles and conquering spaces that, until recently, were unthinkable for a female service member. In 2021, women will be able to join the Marine Corps’ (CFN, in Portuguese) combat force for the first time.
“Military career access and development in MB occur according to the principles of equality, merit, and capability, with salaries that vary based on positions,
rankings, and specific qualifications, regardless of gender,” the Public Affairs Office of the CFN General Command told Diálogo. “To that end, men and women compete equally in the selection process or daily activities, exercising their rights and fulfilling their duties, within their respective corps and troops.”
MB was the first of Brazil’s three forces to promote a woman to the rank of general officer: It was Rear Admiral Dalva Maria Carvalho Mendes in 2012, a physician in the MB Medical Corps. In 2018, Rear Admiral Luciana Mascarenhas da Costa Marroni, from the Corps of Engineers, was the second woman to be promoted to that rank.
“Across the globe there have always been female warriors ahead of their time, but now I see that we are recognized for our ability to do anything and work in any area. I always say that there is no point in talking about men versus women, because regardless of gender, the ability and capability to operate in certain professional areas is individual,” Rear Adm. Dalva, advisor to the MB commander, told Diálogo.