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Retired female officers allowed into reserves

South Korea has amended a conscription law to allow retired female officers to serve in the Reserve Forces, in line with a move to give women more opportunities in the military, officials said Thursday.

Unlike men, retired women officers had been banned from being automatically admitted to the Reserve Forces because their military service is not mandatory by law. The revised law means that female officers can serve as reservists after retirement if they want, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“The revision came amid growing calls that the Reserve Forces should open doors to retired female officers,” said a ministry official, adding the revised law took effect immediately upon announcement.

Here, women are not required to complete compulsory military service, which lasts at least two years for men.

Currently, some 6,600 women serve in the military as commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers.

The ministry plans to increase the number of female commissioned and non-commissioned officers to 10,552 by 2016 and to 11,570 by 2020.

Under the plan, the ratio of female commissioned and non-commissioned officers will rise to 6.3 percent by 2020, compared with 3.6 percent as of 2010, according to the ministry.

Last year, the government allowed women into the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) for the first time.

South Korea has 3.2 million reservists comprising men who completed about two years of mandatory military service within the past eight years. The reservists, who augment the country’s 655,000-strong regular forces, are required to receive field training or other exercises for a few days every year. 

(Yonhap News)
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