Taiwan's Ma welcomes 7th female general, praises women in military

TAIPEI - President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday gave credit to the rising number of female military personnel in the R.O.C. armed forces during a conferral ceremony in Taipei as the country welcomed its seventh female general.

Speaking during the ceremony, which marked the promotion of 28 generals including one woman, Army Major General Chen Yu-lin, President Ma said that currently a total of 16,000 or about 10.51 per cent of the total military personnel in Taiwan are women.

This is a record high number for the percentage of women in the history of the R.O.C. armed forces, Ma noted.

He attributed the servicewomen's stronger presence in the military to the R.O.C. armed forces' ongoing efforts to promote gender equality.

The president also praised women's great performance in doing their job to safeguard the country. Many of these women have shown physical strength equal to their male counterparts, he added.

Ma expressed hope during a previous conferral ceremony on June 26 that more female military personnel will have the opportunity to be promoted to the position of general in the future.

He was glad to see that hope become a reality yesterday when Chen was promoted to become a one-star general.

Chen is the head of the political welfare division at the offshore Matsu Defence Command.

She is the first female general to have served on an offshore frontline island and the seventh female general overall in R.O.C. history.

The last female general was Ministry of National Defence General Political Warfare Bureau Section Chief Major General Lisa Chi. A former military spokeswoman, Chi filed for retirement this May.

A graduate of Fu Hsin Kang College, Chen previously served at the military-affiliated Voice of Han Broadcasting Network.

Speaking to media during the ceremony, Chen gave thanks for the support of her family during her service in the Army.

She also thanked her deceased father, who gave her the chance to study in a military academy in the first place.

Of the 28 officers who joined the conferral ceremony, five were promoted to lieutenant general, namely Liu Te-liang, Chen Chien-tsai, Hsu Chang, Shang Yung-chiang and Chen Tzu-feng.

The other 23 were promoted to the rank of major general, the MND said.

The 28 belong to the Ministry of National Defence, the Presidential Office and the National Security Bureau, it said.