[imText1]What is the gender ratio in Korean People’s Army?
A 28-year old recent defector Kim and a 38-year old former KPA Air Force engineer Choi said that female members of KPA could take up to ten percent of the total armed forces from administrative positions to front battalions.
Kim testified “Most of small-caliber anti-aircraft guns are operated by women and there are even all-female independent brigades and regiments.”
“North Korean authorities encourage women to be enlisted in coastal artillery by advertising ‘recruiting songs.’”
Kim also said that virtually all of the North Korean train tunnels and bridges were guarded by women forces armed with 14.5mm machine gunnery.
Korean People’s Army, according to the South Korean Ministry of Defense’s White Paper, boasts 1.17 million soldiers, and the government in North Korea has increasingly enlisted women since the population shrank in mid-90s.
Kim is a former female member of the KPA 4-25 Training Camp (equivalent to a corps) 331st Brigade 6th Mechanized Battalion. She had served since 1997, the peak of starvation period. At that time many North Korean parents sent their daughters to the army for them to avoid hunger.
Female officers have been mass-recruited since 1995 among women NCOs of proven party loyalty and good family background. They were trained for two years and then stationed in each unit.
For the enlisted, both men and women are conscripted at their age of 17 while the female soldiers receive trainings specialized in anti-aircraft guns.
However, some others, as their male compatriots, are more fortunate, due to their superb ancestral or family background, to be stationed in army hospitals or other more comfortable places than coastal artillery.
“In more recent days,” another defector Choi said, “even aircraft pilots of Soviet-built IL-28 Bombers are filled with women.”
North Korean enlisted women usually serve six to seven years, in contrast with ten to thirteen years of men’s service.
Female veterans automatically become KWP member as they are discharged and enjoy higher chance to be selected as junior party official, but not as preferable marriage partner.