02 July 2015
In 1997, young air force lieutenant Gan Siow Huang declared in a recruitment advertorial printed in this newspaper that women can contribute to national defence.
With modern technology, “it is no longer brawn that matters”, said the 24-year-old, who had in 1993 been among the first four women to be named Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Merit Scholarship winners, breaking the male stranglehold on such awards.
It seemed like a bold statement for a young woman lieutenant to make at a time when the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) was absorbing women into combat vocations, only to have them perform logistics, supply and support functions.
Mindef’s position then was that women could be posted to places where there was a conflict but they could not be exposed to front-line duty.
… Officers also “need to be consistently good across ranks, across their careers”, said Ho Shu Huang, an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University.
He added that the SAF is likely to get more senior women officers if it recruits and retains more women.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015