Women in the Brazilian Navy: 44 years of pioneering spirit, courage and competenceWomen in the Brazilian Navy: 44 years of pioneering spirit, courage and competence

Today, they are present in all the Corps and Staff of the Force

By Captain-Lieutenant (RM2-T) Vanessa Mendonça

With the unprecedented and recent graduation of the new female Marine Soldiers, which took place last Friday (5) in Rio de Janeiro, the presence of women in the Brazilian Navy (MB) completes a pioneering cycle that began on July 7, 1980, with the creation of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps of the Navy Reserve.

Since that time, women have had the same rights, responsibilities and pay as male soldiers in the same rank and grade, which has encouraged more and more women to join the Naval Force.
This is the case of Ana Paula Silva Flor, who became a Marine Soldier alongside 113 other young women last Friday (5).

“For me, what I’m feeling is indescribable. The truth is that when I came to Rio de Janeiro almost five months ago, leaving Belém, in Pará, I left everything to follow a dream that I always knew would be possible,” she said.

In a gradual process, MB restructured its Corps and Staff and increased the participation of women. This was confirmed in 2012 with the promotion of the first female General Officer in the Armed Forces: Rear Admiral (Medical) Dalva Maria Carvalho Mendes. Then, in 2018, an officer from the Navy Corps of Engineers, Rear Admiral (Naval Engineer) Luciana Mascarenhas da Costa Marroni, was promoted to Admiral. Both left active service and are in the reserve.

Currently, Rear Admiral (Medical) Maria Cecília Barbosa da Silva Conceição, promoted in 2023, is on active service and holds the position of Director of the Department of Health and Social Assistance at the Ministry of Defense.

Also in 2023, in an unprecedented and historic way, twelve female students were admitted to the Naval College, which until then had been restricted to young men. That same year, after a selection process that brought together 4,530 candidates, 48 were selected to join the first class of female career sailors at the Santa Catarina School of Apprentice Sailors (EAMSC).

Before that, in 2014, twelve young women also wrote an important chapter in this story by joining the first class of female aspirants at the Naval Academy, the oldest institution of higher education in the country.

For the pioneers who paved the way, like Admiral Dalva, it has been exciting to follow the stages of this journey. “It is with great joy and a sense of accomplishment that I congratulate the women of our sailor family. The responsibility of the pioneers has been vigorously exercised. And to all the warriors who have demonstrated and are demonstrating their ability to face the day-to-day battles, my congratulations,” she said.

Admiral Dalva also has another great source of pride in MB: her daughter, Corvette Captain Luciana Carvalho Mendes, is the first female officer to join the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), where she works as a legal advisor in what is part of the world’s largest naval coalition, focusing on the repression of piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea.

“I’ve always been inspired by my mother, by her passion for her work, by all her effort and dedication. And that was the example she passed on to us at home, which certainly influenced my career choices. Her beautiful career at MB and seeing that, as a result of this work, it was possible to achieve prominent roles, made me look for this career growth and believe in the possibility of participating in any mission, especially the most challenging ones,” said Corvette Captain (Technical Staff) Luciana.

Corvette Captain Josiane Souza de Carvalho Brito is also a pioneer. She is one of the 307 women who were part of the first class of officers to join MB in April 1981. She is one of the authors of the book “307 Dreams: Pioneering Military Women of the Armed Forces – Brazilian Navy Squares”, launched in May this year.

“It’s an honor to belong to the First Class of Military Women in the Navy and to see that with capacity and resilience we were able to overcome the challenges of this pioneering spirit, inspiring future classes to join. We broke down barriers and paradigms, bringing representation and responsibility. Today, women are everywhere in the Armed Forces,” she said.

Throughout all these decades, military women have won important positions in the MB, in management positions, command, commissions abroad, rising to the rank of General Officer, and graduating from the Naval Academy, the Seamen’s Apprenticeship Schools and, more recently, as Marines.

Faced with so many success stories, Admiral (Medical) Maria Cecília believes in setting an example to motivate more women to pursue a military career.

“I feel honored to be a source of inspiration for those who, like me, seek to achieve success through their efforts. It is a pride and a privilege to be a General Officer of the Brazilian Navy, which has considered merit as a way of recognizing the efforts I have made throughout my career,” she said.

Source: Agência Marinha de Notícias

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