Marcelo in the company of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta who is in Lisbon for the join hosting of the UN Oceans Conference

Gender equality in Portugal will only arrive “when an incompetent woman reaches a high rank”

President Marcelo continues to push the boundaries

After telling young people “don’t rely on your leaders” last Friday, President Marcelo has continued in the same vein – telling Air Force recruits that there will only be true equality between men and women in the Armed Forces “when a woman reaches the highest rank as incompetent as a man…”

Equality “is improving”, he admitted, but there is still some way to go. Indeed Marcelo suggested incompetent men have arrived at high military ranks “in numerous cases…”

Portugal’s head of State was speaking at the 1st Recruitment Forum organised by the Air Force, at the Thalia Theatre, in Lisbon, precisely on the theme of the challenges of military recruitment, specifically on the issue of integrating women into the nation’s Armed Forces.

In his role as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Marcelo referred to the so-called “elite units” in which “it is challenging for a woman to become a senior officer”.

“It will be said (…) that they are designed only for men. I have never seen the comparison in external terms but I suspect that there must be in that type of unit, or similar units, more women than there are in Portugal (…) “It is easier to reflect than to decide” and “to analyse than change institutions” (…) “issues of organisational culture are very slow to change”, he admitted.

But the mere fact that there has been a 1st Recruitment Forum in the Air Force’s 70 years to debate these questions is “a good sign of change of mentality”. It shows the service “did not have to wait for 100, 120 or 140 years to make this reflection”.

During his speech yesterday, Marcelo also mentioned the importance of integrating immigrants within Portugal’s Armed Forces.

Source: LUSA