[FOUNTAIN]Women in UniformIn the 1997 movie "G.I. Jane," Demi Moore starred as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer who was recruited as the first woman allowed to train for the U.S. Navy Seals. Ms. Moore successfully captured audiences in the most demanding and grueling training scenes in which she sometimes has to risk her life to complete the course. As she perseveres and completes the training, in which human beings are treated like animals, Ms. Moore brought applause from audiences for her earnest pursuit and integrity in the role.
Demi Moore also gained popularity as a military woman in a previous movie, titled "A Few Good Men." She played a U.S. Navy officer investigating a murder case at Guantanamo Bay, a military base in Cuba. In "Pearl Harbor," the actress Kate Beckinsale, acting as a U.S. Navy nurse, played a role that also helped shape a positive image of women in the military.
In Korean movies, Kim Yun-jin and Lee Yung-ae successfully depicted courageous and dutiful military officers in "Shiri" and "Joint Security Area," respectively, drawing compliments from young audiences, who found that women soldiers could be cool.
In recent years, in many advanced countries, an increasing number of women have been voluntarily enlisting in the military services, bringing closer the equality among men and women.
The United States promoted its first woman general in 1970. An Army nurse, Anna May Hays was named brigadier general, and newspapers across the country announced the beginning of a new era for women. By 1998, the number of women generals in the United States had increased to 39. There are two women generals in Canada and one in Japan. In China, 10 women serve as generals.
In many countries, the navy has closed its doors firmly against women serving in certain specific duties. Citing the relatively weak physical strength of women and pregnancy as reasons, the U.S. Navy had banned women from boarding battleships. But surrendering to the pressure from women activists, the U.S. Navy promoted a woman to captain of a battleship in 2000. Recently, women officers were dispatched to marine ships in Korea, with various restrictions attached. Women cannot wear skirts on ships and must wear only light shades of makeup.
Colonel Yang Seung-sook, chief of the Army Nurse Corps, was recently promoted to be the first woman general in South Korea's 53-year history of armed forces. Let us give a handsome salute to women in all branches of the military who are undergoing training to serve their country.
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Choi Chul-joo