MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s lower house of Congress approved a reform that opens the possibility for the 10,565 women serving in the nation’s army and air force to aspire to positions in the high command.
The measures establishes that “without regard to gender, the members of the Mexican Army and Air Force will be able to aspire to all the levels of command, including the high command organs of the Army and Air Force.”
The National Defense and Gender Equity bill, which remained stalled in Congress for six years, was sent on Tuesday to the executive branch and will take effect once it is published in the official gazette.
After the vote, Congresswoman Diva Gastelum said that this reform will allow women to take command of the armed forces and to serve as defense minister.
Gastelum, a member of the main opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, said that “if a women were at the head of the Defense Secretariat there would not be so many deaths and (so much) insensitivity on the streets,” an apparent reference to the participation of the military in the fight against drug traffickers and the more-than-40,000 drug-war deaths since December 2006.
“The moment has come for women in the army,” she said.
The reform includes prohibiting “different treatment on the basis of sex in the selection procedures for entry into the military schools.” The only exceptions are those linked to different physical conditions that are considered liabilities.
Soldiers of both sexes will be subject to the same duties and rights established in the constitution, both regarding this law and all other military arrangements. EFE