The Chinese Army; an age-old symbol of power, skill, and pride. It’s a force of more than 2 million members, but has had a long-standing male exclusivity. Since 1996 women were allowed in the military in China, but in a limited capacity- they were mainly granted positions like administrative support and communication. Fast-forward to present day and there is more open discussion about incorporating women into the military, but the question remains: Can women join the Chinese Army?
The answer is yes, with a few stipulations. Currently, women can serve in the Chinese Army as soldiers, medics, communications technicians, pilots, and other special positions. There are a few requirements that each female must meet in order to gain access to the military; she must have a high school diploma, be physically fit, and be of Chinese citizenship.
The Chinese government supports and advocate for the inclusion of women in the military, citing the potential for increased production, morale, and cohesion. When women are included in the military, it is believed that the success of the troops will be improved.
The United Nations concurs that, “Women can have an important role in contributing to the security and progress of nations. They hold specific roles, open to men and women alike, within the Chinese Army,” said an anonymous UN representative.
Recently, the Chinese Army has come under scrutiny for its current policies; some advocates suggest that China apply policies that encourage greater gender equality, such as, recruiting more women and assigning them to higher-ranking positions. At the moment, for example, only about 15% of officers are female.
Nevertheless, the Chinese Army maintains that gender equality is paramount to achieving sustainable peace, national stability and economic growth. In a recent article, former general Zhang Hong, stated, “Groups in all countries must be devoted to gender equality. The military must also realize that women soldiers are an invaluable resource.”
Evidently, there has been some movement towards allowing more women access to the military, and that process is ongoing. Though some advocates are calling for more to be done, women now have more access to the military than at any other point in Chinese history.
There is no doubt that many women have had to overcome the prejudice amongst many of their peers in order to join the Chinese army. For those who choose to enlist, a challenging process is encountered in which their strength, courage and determination is tested. Gender discrimination has been a major issue for women in the past, even when first considering the possibility of joining the army.
Due to a long-standing cultural understanding, many have subscribed to the idea that the army is a predominantly male field. This inevitably presents certain challenges for women when entering into a male-dominated environment; for example, the fear of not being taken seriously or even the possible loss of opportunities.
Beyond prejudice, many female soldiers in the Chinese Army face other problems such as physical fitness. To some degree physical stamina is expected of all soldiers, however, men and women are held to different standards of physical fitness results. Women can often find themselves lagging behind in physical tests and in extreme cases, this could lead to them being excluded from certain opportunities.
In terms of expectations, cultural mores can also play a part in how female soldiers are perceived and treated. In particular, issues of family and motherhood can often arise and in certain cases, may lead to women being burdened with extra responsibilities that weren’t necessarily intended for them.
Although there are some issues that female soldiers must confront and overcome, it is comforting to note that there is an overall effort from the army and leadership to ensure that gender equality is maintained in the Chinese military. Any kind of discrimination that was once experienced in the past, is now prohibited.
In order to be successful, the Chinese army requires a large and diverse array of weapons and equipment. In order to remain competitive and successful in the global market, the Chinese must be able to create the best arsenal possible. The Chinese military has a wide range of artillery, most of which is cutting edge. This arsenal includes assault rifles, tanks, and various other modern weapons.
The Chinese also have an extensive library of ammunition and explosives. Some of the more prominent ammunition includes standard bullets and grenades, as well as heavier-hitting hardware such as guided missiles, anti-aircraft weapons, and ballistic missiles. Along with these, they also have an array of cyber warfare tools and the means necessary to produce chemical and biological agents.
The Chinese army also benefits from their high-level research and development capabilities. With their unmatched resources, Chinese engineers and scientists can design, test, and implement new military technologies quickly and efficiently. This allows them to stay one step ahead of their competition and keep a strategic advantage.
Due to their arsenal, the Chinese military has been able to last through both World War II and the Cold War, as well as other major military engagements. Their arsenal is ever-evolving and growing, and female soldiers are now being given more access to it in order to utilize its power.
The Chinese military offers a comprehensive training program for all new soldiers, both men and women, designed to ensure they are physically and mentally prepared to serve in the military. This training regimen involves rigorous physical activity and often Drill ceremonies, so as to build physical and emotional endurance. Through this, they also gain exposure to tactics and strategy.
The Chinese military also has a heavy emphasis on indoctrination. This means that every soldier must learn and understand the values, customs and philosophies of the Chinese military. The importance of loyalty, honor and sacrifice are emphasized in order to ensure that soldiers remain devoted to the Chinese Army.
In addition to the physical aspect of the training, a mental aspect is also present. This includes learning about the tactics, strategies and history of warfare; as well as studying and understanding the Chinese language and culture. Learning the basics of leadership and order-taking is also a high priority, as the leadership in the Chinese Army is mainly composed of officers.
The Chinese military also offers training courses in areas such as weapons handling, armed combat, and intelligence operations. This ensures that all its soldiers, male and females, have a wide range of skills to add to their armoury.
As with any other industry, the military world can have profound implications for one’s career trajectory. The Chinese army offers soldiers a variety of job opportunities, some of which are not available anywhere else in the Chinese jobs market. It is home to many technical, medical and specialist positions that can often not be found elsewhere.
The Chinese Army also provides personnel development opportunities, such as technical training, leadership courses and educational bursaries. This is especially significant for women, as many of these opportunities are often not available outside of the military. Furthermore, the Chinese Army grants access to top-tier healthcare benefits and pensions, which can be advantageously attained only by being a part of the military.
It is possible for citizens to join the military at any age, with new recruits undergoing a comprehensive selection process to determine their suitability. Depending on their performance during their tests and their aptitude, they could be eligible to join one of the army’s four branches: infantry, artillery, engineering, and chemical and biological defense.
The Chinese army allows for a certain degree of mobility, both for personal and professional purposes. Many women have taken up opportunities in the army as a way of exploring different regions and gaining exposure to different cultures and experiences.
The Chinese army has historically been a male-dominated institution. This makes the prospect of women serving in the army a relatively novel concept. Nevertheless, the Chinese Army has made marked progress in recent years in encouraging and allowing more of its female citizens to join its ranks. Not only has this allowed more women to pursue higher-level positions in the military, but it has also resulted in an increased representation and voice for women in general society.
Furthermore, the inclusion of women in the Chinese Army has opened up new sexual health and reproductive education opportunities. This is especially evident in the number of clinics and support centers catering to female soldiers around the country. This type of education seeks to equip women with the knowledge and skills to help them better understand their bodies and their reproductive options.
The military’s policies have also been a driving force in introducing and encouraging feminists rights in the Chinese society. In particular, the Chinese Military has provided a platform for women to engage in politics. Female officers have been featured in prominent political positions, such as positions in the Chinese Communist Party and the National People’s Congress.
Gender equality is becoming a major concern for Chinese citizens and the Chinese army has been at the forefront of the movement. Women have been encouraged to join and stay in the army and take part in discussions about the role of women in the military, along with engaging in debates about the future of the Chinese military.
In conclusion, the Chinese military is slowly making progress in terms of allowing more women to join their ranks. With more opportunities becoming available, more women are being given the chance to serve in the military. This has resulted in a number of positive outcomes, including increased representation in the military, and in society in general. As such, women in the Chinese Army have had an important role in contributing to the security and progress of the nation.