The first mixed cohort enter the Agulhas Negras Military Academy (AMAN)

After a year of training at the Preparatory School of the Brazilian Army (EsPCEx), 33 cadets finally entered the Agulha Negras Military Academy (AMAN) in January. This would not be news, except for the fact that they are female cadets. For the first time in the history of the Brazilian Army, an entire class of women has entered the academy. There were nearly 193 candidates for each of the 33 open vacancies. For aspiring male cadets, there were 400.

The new cohort is made up of 18 and 22-years-olds with all of them sitting through a national entrance exam in September 2016. Last January, selected candidates were enrolled and began active military duty as EsPCEx students. Those who graduated continued on to AMAN and, provided they are successful, will become officers in the Brazilian Army.

The role of women in the Brazilian military is addressed in an Igarapé Institute report – “Situações extraordinárias – a entrada de mulheres na linha de frente das Forças Armadas brasileiras“. The report features research from Brazil, France, Norway, and the UK. It was prepared to help support female recruits to AMAN and other Armed Forces academies. The goal is to help support the recruitment of more women into the military (as of 2016, they represent just 4% of the forces – with all of them in administrative, health and teaching functions).

A major barrier came down with the approval of 40 women for cadet positions at AMAN. By 2021 they will have the right to reach the highest ranks of the institution – Army General. “The entrance of women (…) in Brazilian officer training is an important step towards the promotion of inclusive policies in the Brazilian Armed Forces. At the same time, it shows the persistent gender inequality in society,” says Renata Gianini, the author of the aforementioned report.

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