Burma’s armed forces, known nationally as the Tatmadaw, will for the first time in over 50 years open recruitment for females at the Defence Services Academy (DSA).
According to an advertisement by the Burmese Army Military Appointments General’s Office, single women who have graduated from university and who are no older than 30 can now apply for a six-month cadet training course.
Zaw Htay, the President’s Office director and a DSA graduate, said the army is reintroducing the programme because it is “relevant in today’s world”.
After completing the course, women cadets will be assigned lieutenant and second lieutenant ranks in the armed forces. DVB has learnt that the army was also considering introducing training for female corporals and sergeants.
Tin Oo, a former commander-in-chief and current deputy leader of the opposition National League for Democracy, said the army used to recruit females in the 1950s but never since.
“The army recruited females back during Gen. Maung Maung’s time, especially university graduates, but not very many,” he said.
Nyo Nyo Thin, a Rangoon division MP representing the Democratic Party (Myanmar), said she welcomed the news.
“Twenty-five percent of parliamentary seats are reserved for members of the Tatmadaw and all of them have been assumed by men,” she said. “In other countries, they make it constitutionally mandatory for 30 percent of parliamentary seats to be reserved for women, but not in Burma. I hope to see female Tatmadaw members assuming the military seats in parliament and so I welcome the initiative.”
It is presently unclear how many female officers will be offered training and whether they could be sent into combat situations.