More than 10,000 women serve in South Korea’s military, Seoul says

SEOUL, Sept. 26 (UPI) — A record number of South Korean women, more than 10,000 in total, serve in Seoul’s armed forces, according to South Korea’s defense ministry.

According to the data taken from a survey conducted in June, there are 10,263 women in South Korea’s army, navy and marine corps, Yonhap reported on Monday.

A total of 6,915 women are in the army, 1,264 in the navy and 1,694 serve in the air force. Women in the marine corps total 390, according to the report presented to South Korean lawmaker Seo Young-kyo.

South Korea’s military also has two women serving as brigadier generals, 823 field officers, 3,924 company officers, 24 warrant officers and 5,490 petty officers.

Women also make up 5.5 percent of the senior military ranks. Seoul had planned to raise the share of women serving in senior positions to 7 percent by 2020, but the data shows that target could be reached earlier, according to Yonhap.

As more women enter the armed forces, the number of married couples with both partners in the military has subsequently increased. In late 2015, there were 2,229 military couples, according to Seoul’s data.

Last week Defense Minister Han Min-koo told lawmakers Seoul should maintain the number of full-time troops at 500,000 or more if it is to resist an armed North Korean invasion.

In April, South Korea’s military manpower ranked 11th in the world, above North Korea which ranked 25th, according to website Global Firepower, which annually ranks the world’s armed forces.

The United States maintains the No. 1 position, followed by Russia, China, India, France and Britain.

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