Uruguay's Senate has approved the promotion of the first three female military officers to reach the rank of colonel in the South American country's armed forces, Defense Minister Javier García announced Monday.
”In a historic event, the Senate approved the permissions requested by the P.E. to promote the first women as Colonels in the Armed Forces. In @EjercitoUy Col. Andrea De los Santos and in @Fuerza_aerea_uy Col.María Eugenia Etcheverry and Col (Nav) Ana Inés Sandes,” García wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Women account for around 25% of the Uruguayan military, it was also explained in Montevideo, but most of them do not hold relevant positions.
García also explained that Ana Inés Sandes and María Eugenia Etcheverry would be promoted in the Air Force and Andrea de los Santos in the Army.
The Tacuarembó-born Sandes joined Aeronautical Military School in 1997, the first year women were accepted and six were enrolled. She graduated in 2000.
In an interview with El Avisador of her native department, Sandes admitted that discrimination is always there, despite the passage of time, among peers, among hierarchies.
One has to make a place for oneself with one's work, and I am convinced that this is the way to gain trust. But there are always people who do not like or do not like it when a woman is in a position of this kind. It is something that you feel. It is difficult to describe, they do not tell you most of the time, but it is present and you ask yourself, if there were a man in that position, would the reaction be the same in certain situations? she added.
Sandes also recalled participating in a training program in the United States alongside 300 men with her being the only woman.
The 47-year-old Etcheverry from Montevideo graduated in 2000 and has served at the Durazno Air Base before becoming an aide-de-camp to President Luis Lacalle Pou, assisting and advising the head of state in everything related to the work of the Armed Forces.
It is a great challenge, assisting the president of the Republic is not a minor place. I took it as a surprise. I am an A37 pilot, I was trained in Squadron 2. My last position was as commander in the base squadron, which provides technical and logistical support to a unit, she at the time of her appointment.
De los Santos was promoted while serving in the General Eugenio Garzón Infantry Brigade No. 1, located in Punta de Rieles on Route 8. She graduated from the military academy in 2001. In January 2015, she became the first female officer to hold a command position. Back then, she admitted to the Army's magazine that sometimes it is a little more difficult for those who, besides being military officers, are mothers and run a household. But that does not stop us from fulfilling the demands of the career.