Ever since the 80s, the Lebanese army has been a home for both its countrymen and countrywomen. Women have been officially serving as Privates for the Air Force and the Naval Forces by authority of a service memorandum issued by the LAF Commandant on the 9th of January 1990.
When Army General and Commander Joseph Aoun was first appointed, he promised to deliver reforms in the structure and hierarchy of our army. Reinforcing the roles of women to achieve combat capacities was among his top priorities.
Officially, women have been deemed incapable to work on the front line, but things are looking up. Pun intended.
The BBC recently wrote a feature about Lebanon’s gutsy ladies. Out of six female applicants to our Air Force Program, two women have just passed the rigorous examination. They have been deemed fit to serve as lieutenants! These two badass ladies are making headlines and breaking stereotypes in the region.
Meet 1st Lieutenant Chantal Kallas, 27, who wanted to be a pilot ever since she was a little girl.
According to Chantal, “everyone in the air force is helping us and encouraging us to fulfill our ambition, and this is why perceptions are changing, and men have become more accepting of women in combat positions and in emancipating women in society.”
Glad to see all that hard work paying off!
1st Lieutenant Rita Zaher, aged 26, was also met with resistance when she first decided to join the armed forces.
Months later, however, Manar proved herself more than worthy of her position. She can be heard joking about the perks of her situation, “I have small hands so sometimes I can do things they [men] can’t, like reaching into areas of the engine they can’t.”