Women have a long history in the military serving in every conflict from the revolutions to the current war on terror. From their early days as cooks and nurses to the combat roles they fulfill today, they have greatly evolved.
By Cynthia Efopa
Today the tides have drastically change. The Cameroon laws have it that all Cameroonians are equal and can postulate of any job of their choice if they meet the necessary requirements. Against this backdrop, Women are now found in almost all the different command post of the military. They are brought closer to the frontiers than ever before .In 1984, under the then of Minister of Defence Andre Tsoungui, of blessed memory, the first contingent of women were recruited in the Cameroon Armed Forces. Overtime, they have made steady advances from occupying just positions of nurses and secretaries within the barracks and battlefield hospitals to being pilots, drivers, brigade commanders, legion commanders, mechanics as well as other traditional positions. They have made indelible progress in their career path as they embrace either the branches of service or arms.
There are hundreds of women today in crisis zone in the North West and South West regions as well as in the Far North to quell rebellious activities of insurgencies, enforcing law and order and playing complimentary roles to facilitate the engagement of colleagues. They occupy positions of leadership and authority within all branches of the military. This has been thanks to the training they received. In the Combined Arms Military Academy, a refined school for the training of officers within the Central African Sub Region, the ratio of girls been admitted has witnessed an increase from just two in the yesteryears to over fifty the present day. Training at the academy is unbiased to genre. It takes a global approach towards exploring the cadet officers and building their proficiency as soldiers.
The early 21st century has provided continued success for women in the military. Colonel Bella Nkoto Anne became the first female Gendarmerie legion Commander while Colonel Biwole Brigitte the pioneer female Commander of the 1st Group of Squadrons in Yaoundé and other women in the Army keeps pushing closer to full combat duties. Examining the development of military women in Cameroon, it shows a favorable momentum towards holding high ranking positions in the near future. As the evolution continues, Cameroon is on a powerful track towards fully leveraging the power, intelligence and influence of female military leaders.
For the deference of Cameroon is a shared responsibility and women have contributed their talents, skills and courage to this endeavor for over three decades with an outstanding record of achievements.