Women with tattoos can’t join the military?

A Spanish army rule discriminates against women with designs on their skin. After two controversial cases, the Defense Ministry has said it will change the regulations

 Maria R. Sahuquillo
Maria R. Sahuquillo EL PAÍS, Spain
Source: EL PAÍS
Women with tattoos can’t join the military? - NewsMavens
Tattoo artist. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

If you have a visible tattoo and you’re a woman, you can forget about joining the Spanish military. At least for now.

Two complaints filed with the army have revealed that the rules about permanent designs on your skin are discriminatory. Both women, who had tattoos on their feet, went through the recruitment process to join a specialized unit of the army. Both were rejected, given that, according to the tribunal in question, tattoos that are visible when dress uniform is worn are not allowed.

And for women, that uniform states that skirts and black, heeled shoes are necessary during ceremonies or events. 

Nevermind the fact that many male members of the military in Spain are practically covered in ink from head to toe. 

The two aforementioned cases, in particular that of a 30-year-old psychologist who went public with her case -- have sparked huge controversy and have prompted the Defense Ministry to revise the law, on the basis that they want to avoid discrimination.

Details from the story:

  • Thirty years ago, women could not join the Spanish army. Today, 12.5% of the armed forces are female. It’s a low ratio, but one that has risen since 2000, when the figure was 6.6%. The average in NATO countries is 10.8%.
  • However, women tend to have more temporary contracts, and ones that are more precarious than those of their male counterparts.
  • There are already female lieutenant colonels as well as women in special roles: 1.7% of pilots, 9.7% of submarine specialists and 4.5% of soldiers trained for special operations are women.
  • In 2015 alone a special protocol for cases of sexual assault was introduced. It was created on the basis of there being a greater presence of women in the army. Until then, assault was not even considered a disciplinary offense, but rather was included in other categories, such as abuse of authority.
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