By Shuhaida Mohd Said
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 (Bernama) -- Opportunities are aplenty for women not only to develop their career with the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) but also to move up to become among the top-ranking personnel in the male-dominated establishment.
For General Service Corps (Public Relations) acting director Col. Fadzlette Othman Merican, women in the military service have proven that they can be as competent as their male counterparts.
"We can be as capable as our male colleagues and if they can go far in the military, we too are able to do the same," she said, referring to the success story of Brig-Gen Dr Roshidah Ishak, the armed forces' dental specialist.
Brig-Gen Dr Roshidah is arguably the most successful woman in the ATM so far, shattering what is perceived to be the glass ceiling in the armed forces by moving up to become the first woman to hold the rank of Brigadier-General.
"This is a testimony to our ability and commitment to the profession, and the trust the ATM places on women in the military service," Fadlette told Bernama.
Fadzlette, who created history when she became the first woman in the General Service Corps to be promoted to the rank of Colonel, said that women's advancement in the armed forces showed that they could go far in the military service.
Relating her own experience, Fadzlette who once aspired to join the Royal Armour Corps, said that the time was right for women to join the armed forces and build a career.
In the past women in the military service were confined to office work and never had the opportunity show their true capability, she said.
"Now there are no more limitations for women to join any corps of the armed forces... they should grab this opportunity," she said.
For Brig-Gen Dr Roshidah, her promotion to the rank showed that the ATM recognised women's ability and commitment to their duties.
She said that any sceptical views -- that women would not be able to go far in the military service because of the their "weak" physical nature -- should be discarded.
Todate, about 10 per cent of armed forces personnel are women and they are working in almost all corps of the armed forces, she said.
"We have proven that we can be on par with our male counterparts," she said, adding that it was not impossible for women to become the commander of any of armed forces' unit in the future.