Edith Lucia Fuentes: Her Mark in Traditionally Masculine Fields

The participation of women in scenarios considered for many years as atypical for them has provided the opportunity to enhance her skills by enriching and modernizing entities considered for years to train men.

The Woman Post | Margarita Briceño

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In the case of the Military Forces, the incorporation of women symbolizes the breaking down of old barriers, increasingly characterized by equality between men and women, modernization, and openness, and it could even be said that in many countries the military professional career is the same for both sexes, thus sharing the same tasks, receiving the same training and assuming the same responsibilities.

Breaking Cultural Barriers

Lieutenant Commander Edith Lucia Fuentes is one of the leaders and a member of the Board of Directors of The American Organization of Women Leaders in Automotive Maintenance, WAM21. She graduated from the "Almirante Padilla" Naval Cadet School in 2003 as the first female Naval Engineer officer with a specialty in Mechanics, standing out for being the first of them to hold senior positions in the Naval Engineering branch of the Colombian Navy, thus contributing to maintaining gender equity in the Institution.

But handing over her life to the Armed Forces has not been an easy task, especially when she was born in Boyacá, a Colombian region where machismo and prejudices about the roles of men and women are still very powerful. However, her discipline and perseverance managed to overcome the barriers, turning those difficulties into great achievements "in a family of teachers I am the first in the military and the only Engineer. At first, it was very hard because I had to be able to show my parents that I could be a military man. I didn't have the support when I went to the Almirante Padilla Naval Cadet School and every year that my father came to my house, he asked me, 'You don't want to change careers?' I pay him medicine if he leaves the military career. It took 4 years until I obtained the rank of Corvette Lieutenant for him to feel proud of what I had achieved."

And although in the National Navy Edith has not felt harassment or discrimination, her entry and stay in the Institution has been full of challenges to overcome, because in a world kept for men for so many years, it took a long time for them to realize that she was a capable woman. "You have to learn to fight by example and each ship is different, when they see you motivated or involved in the work and who knows they begin to accept you… demonstrating qualities and skills is what has opened the doors to me in a world of men…women came to change men's personalities in the face of teamwork."


The Best Officer of the Navy

Edith Fuentes is a tireless woman who always maintains a balance between the roles of mother and wife. She is currently in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and has received 139 congratulations and 12 decorations such as the "Nuestro Pride" award in the operational category for having been selected as the best Officer of the Caribbean Naval Force. In 2019, she joined the Engineer Head of the Missile Frigate Engineering Department and was ARC "Independent," being the first woman to hold this position. In addition, she has been nominated for the Women of Success Awards 2020, in the Public Force category, and at the SHE IS 2021 event in Barranquilla she was named as a woman "She is 2021" for being an example of inspiration for thousands of women.

The Passion for Her Career

For Edith Lucia Fuentes these are some of the characteristics that women who want to be part of the officer corps of the Armed Forces should have:

-Like the race and be passionate about it.

-Be in a permanent disposition to learn, update and study.

-Be aware of the charges and their functions

-Be responsible, committed to work, disciplined, and persistent.

"We women encourage the Military Forces to be responsible, and we balance the roles that men perform," says Edith Fuentes.

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