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Sri Lanka Table of Contents

Sri Lanka

Women in the Armed Forces

The Sri Lankan Army Women's Corps was formed in 1980 as an unarmed, noncombatant support unit. Set up with the assistance of the British Women's Reserve Army Corps, it was identical in structure to its parent organization, and its first generation of officer cadets was trained in Britain. Candidates were required to be between eighteen and twenty years old and to have passed the lowest level of the General Common Entrance examinations. (Officer candidates must have passed the Advanced Level.) Enlistment entailed a five-year service commitment (the same as for men), and recruits were not allowed to marry during this period. In the sixteen-week training course at the Army Training Centre at Diyatalawa, cadets were put through a program of drill and physical training similar to the men's program, with the exception of weapons and battlecraft training. Women recruits were paid according to the same scale as the men, but were limited to service in nursing, communications, and clerical work. In late 1987, the first class of women graduates from the Viyanini Army Training Center were certified to serve as army instructors.

Women were first admitted into the navy in 1985. New recruits were given six weeks of training with the Sri Lankan Army Women's Corps. Although they were trained in the use of weapons, they were not assigned to combat positions or shipboard duty. Instead, they assisted in nursing, communications, stores, and secretarial work.

Data as of October 1988