This is the first time such big number of female officers has been promoted at the same time. Previously there was no female Lt. Col. in the UPDF, although there was a Colonel, Proscovia Nalweyiso. There are now two Lt. Cols, Rebecca Mpagi and Annet Nkalubo, who were promoted from major.
In military terms, a Colonel is a Brigade Commander and a UPDF Brigade has between 3,000-4,000 soldiers. This means that the three women are in positions of great responsibility.
However, the number of female officers in the UPDF remains very low. Whereas the highest ranked male officer is a General, the highest ranked female officer is a Colonel. Above the rank of Colonel, there are over 60 Generals, Lieutenant Generals, Major Generals and Brigadiers.
None of these is a woman. Furthermore, out of over 200 Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels, only three are women.
This is a disparity in a country pursuing affirmative action as official policy. There have been arguments that women do not want to join the army. This is true but probably it is because there might not be enough incentives for them. However, the creation of a directorate of Women Affairs in the UPDF is a move that should be applauded.
Worldwide, women soldiers have played important support roles in the army. Women dominate many military medical teams worldwide. Why not in the UPDF? More women will join the army if there are reasons to envy those who are already there.
Promoting more of them would be prudent. However, women soldiers should also worker harder to make a bigger mark in the forces that would justify their rise.
UPDF needs more female officers