CONSUMER organisations and police have warned of another round of phone scams and hoaxes, including calls with a Chile country prefix and WhatsApp messages telling users not to eat pork. FACUA-Consumers in Action said...
Spanish Armed Forces promotes its first female General
By thinkSPAIN Team Fri, Jul 12, 2019
OVER 30 years since Spain first allowed women to join its Armed Forces, a female soldier has been promoted to General for the first time in the country's history.
Patricia Ortega, 56, from Madrid, was due to have her promotion confirmed today (Friday) when defence leader Margarita Robles proposed it in the scheduled Council of Ministers.
The Madrid Polytechnic agricultural engineering graduate completed her training and exams in March to become a General, but this never guarantees the position, since only about one in three who pass go on to achieve the promotion.
Patricia started at Zaragoza General Military Academy in 1988, a year after finishing university and the first year when women were allowed to enlist.
She continued her training at the Armed Forces High Polytechnic School, specialising in electrical and construction engineering, after passing out from Zaragoza.
The General-to-be is currently based at the National Technical Aerospace Institute, having risen through the ranks as Lieutenant Colonel and then Colonel.
Daughter, granddaughter and sister of soldiers, married with three children, Ortega says she had always wanted to follow in her family's footsteps and pursue a 'public service vocation'.
But she says she has never found her career path any more difficult because of being a woman.
“I'm a soldier, independently of my sex and, therefore, I have left behind, sacrificed and given up the same as all my other colleagues, male and female,” she says.
The last time Colonel Ortega took part in a public engagement with the military was on March 8, 2018 – International Women's Day last year – to mark the 30th anniversary of ladies being allowed to join the Forces.
At the time, as a Colonel, she was the highest-ranking woman within the national Force.
But what the Army has achieved in those 30 years is thanks to the efforts of both men and women, Patricia stresses.
“We women are just treated like any other soldier, but we're more than just any other soldier,” Colonel Ortega admits.
She urged military institutions to make 'a real effort' to achieve 'excellence' in gender equality in the Forces.
At present, just 12.7% soldiers in Spain are female, a figure that has remained more or less constant since 2006, although rising slightly since 2012.
It is still some way below that of other countries – in France, 19% of soldiers are women and in the USA, 14.5% are female – but is considerably higher than in some western nations, such as Germany and the UK, where only 9.3% and 9% respectively are women.
And Spain's female soldiers have been around a lot less time than in many of its neighbouring countries, making this figure of 12.7% a creditable achievement.
Most women in Spain's Armed Forces form part of the troop or the Naval services and typically – in about 12,500 cases - hold the lowest ranks, whilst around 1,400 are officials and sub-officials.
The Spanish Army has 221 Generals, all men – set to rise by next week to 222 with one woman – plus 1,043 Colonels, of whom only three are female, and 3,096, of whom just 16 are women, according to the ministry of defence.
Margarita Robles is Spain's third female defence minister, after socialist president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero named the late Carme Chacón for the role, and his successor, the PP's Mariano Rajoy, gave the job to his former deputy María Dolores de Cospedal.
Photograph of Colonel Patricia Ortega, just before becoming General Ortega, taken by Ángel García Tejedor of the Territorial Army
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