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Author Topic: History of women in the Dutch army  (Read 3821 times)
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Location: Eemnes The Netherlands
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« on: 8 April 2009, 18:16:34 »

This month, exactly 65 years ago, the first women joined the army.
In this topic I will give a short history about the progress women made in the armed forces from that time on.

world war 1, 1914-1918

The first time women were allowed near the frontline-units.
They were placed at hospital units, mainly with nursing tasks.
Administrative they were put under command of the reserve army (Vrijwillige Landstorm)

Parabellum, 1922-1937

During this period women were allowed to officially join the reserve units.
They could be called upon service during war or times of special circumstances (natural disasters and such)
Tasks available: chauffeur,cook, nurse, doctor or administrative jobs.
They were not allowed to carry weapons.

world war 2 ,1940-1945

In England many women whom escaped the occupated motherland formed a new corps.
Vrouwen hulp korps VHK
On april 25 1944 this corps was offcially recognized as military unit.
This is considered to be the first day the first woman officially entered the army.
It was the first CO of the unit, miss CE Smit-Dyserinck.
Another unit formed was the Vrouwelijke militaire verpleegdienst (women nurses unit)
This unit however had no military status.
In 1945 the unit was renamed to: Nederlands verpleegsters korps der Landmacht NVKL (Dutch nurses corps of the army)


KNIL:Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch leger or Royal Dutch/Indies army , like its western counterpart they also had a female service.
This was voluntary and roughly the same as their western counterpart.
After the KNIL was disbanded the female unit also was disbanded.

MILVA 1951

In this year the VHK and the NVKL joined into a new unit.
MILVA or Militaire vrouwen afdeling (military women unit)
The position of females became better, their wages became the same as that of male soldiers.
They also received better careerposibilities , better functions and higher ranks.
Another improvement soon followed with better chances for education within the army.

The Netherlands sign the treaty for equal universal rights for women an men regarding labour.
This opens the door to a complete integration of women in the armed forces.

First officers 1978

The first women are allowed to join the army officer course (KMA) at the royal military academy.
These first female cadets received a lot of media attention.

End of the MILVA 1982

The MILVA disappears, women are now allowed to join specific units like infantry or cavalry.
There are some restrictions, women are not allowed to exercise functions in specific figthing units.

Fully integrated 1995
from this day all jobs are open for women.
They remain a minority but are not an exception anymore.

First general 2005

This year the first female becomes 'General' in the land forces component.
Recently the airforce also got their first female commodore.

The politicians want to see a growth of women up to 12% of the total strength.
they also want to see that ( more) women can get acces to the higher ranks.

Source: Dutch army Landmacht magazine

My topics are about my personal opinion, my thoughts and what I think. They do not reflect the official opinion of the ministry of defense of the Netherlands.
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