Seoul, July 29 (EFE).- South Korean Navy authorities said Friday that women would be allowed to serve on submarines beginning in 2024.
The decision, made in response to manpower shortages caused by a low birthrate, aims to widen women’s military roles.
The navy made the decision during an internal policy meeting on Thursday, according to the official Yonhap news agency.
South Korea will therefore become the 14th country to implement a policy permitting women to serve aboard submarines.
The South Korean Navy intends to begin screening female candidates for top submarine jobs next year, with the intention of commissioning them in 2024.
The South Korean military stated that the restriction on women aboard submarines was imposed because the comparatively smaller vessels lacked basic female amenities.
South Korea’s purchase of 3,000-ton mid-class submarines would have allowed women to serve aboard them.
The South Korean Navy began considering the feasibility of enlisting women on these ships in 2014.
In May this year, the navy offered 50 female soldiers a tour of a submarine with these new characteristics to ask for their opinion.
“From the perspective of a female soldier, I felt work conditions there were sufficient,” Yonhap quoted one of them as saying.
“Should I be selected as the first female submarine crew member, I would be very proud of myself.”
Norway was the first to allow female soldiers to serve aboard submarines in 1985.
Currently, 13 nations allow their female troops to serve on underwater vessels, including the United States, Canada, and Japan. EFE