Military mulls requiring female veterans to join reservist training

03/08/2022 02:41 PM
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Reservists take part in the latest round of training under a new tougher regime on Monday. Photo: Military News Agency
Reservists take part in the latest round of training under a new tougher regime on Monday. Photo: Military News Agency

Taipei, March 8 (CNA) Taiwan's military is considering whether to require discharged female military personnel to take part in the reservist training program with their male counterparts, once the armed forces has enough training capacity.

Currently, only male veterans who have been discharged from active duty within the last eight years are required to participate in the reservist training program, said Major General Yu Wen-cheng (俞文鎮), a division head in the Ministry of National Defense's (MND's) All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency, on Tuesday.

Taiwan's military can only train up to 110,000 reservists a year, which is around half the number of eligible reservists in the country, according to Yu.

Once the military has beefed up its reservist training capacity, including establishing new reserve force units and facilities, the defense ministry will consider requiring female veterans to participate in the training, he added.

According to a briefing which the MND sent to the Legislative Yuan back in 2020, the military is expected to establish five new brigades and three reservist training centers in the coming years so that its reserve forces can train up to 268,000 reservists annually in the future.

Gender discrimination complaints

Yu's comments were made in response to complaints that only male veterans were required to participate in regular reservist training sessions, but not females. Reservists in Taiwan have argued for decades that this was a form of discrimination on the basis of gender.

These complaints resurfaced after the MND launched a more intense reservist training program earlier this month that doubled the training period to two weeks from one week, in an attempt to improve the combat readiness of the reserve forces amid rising cross-strait tensions.

While men in Taiwan are required to take part in compulsory military conscription and reservist training, females can join the armed forces voluntarily to serve as soldiers and officers.

The latest numbers show that of the over 180,000 military personnel in Taiwan, 15 percent of them are female.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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