Women can play a bigger role in nation's security forces

It is heartening to observe the growing recognition and importance given to our young women by the Ministry of Defence ("20 women win SAF, Mindef scholarships"; Thursday).

This latest move follows the promotions of Colonel Gan Siow Huang to brigadier-general last year, and Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Koh Ee Wen to colonel this year.

We need our women to consider the military as a career, as our population decreases.

There are important areas where our women can be utilised in the air force and navy, as well as in fields such as intelligence/security analysis, engineering, defence equipment research and information technology.

Women play vital roles and have proven themselves in military forces overseas, such as in the United States, Britain and Israel, as well as in the volunteer Singapore Women's Auxiliary Naval Service between 1963 and 1966.

Recently, we are seeing clear examples of outstanding leadership by women in Britain (Prime Minister Theresa May), Germany (Chancellor Angela Merkel) and the United States (presidential candidate Hillary Clinton).

In Singapore, we have prominent women in the areas of politics, diplomacy, medicine and academia.

There is every reason for us to give our women opportunities in our security forces.

Adrian Villanueva

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Women can play a bigger role in nation's security forces'. Print Edition | Subscribe