The submarine service was, de facto, the last area in which females were denied. The move is interpreted as lowering the service barrier for female military personnel.
The ROK Navy announced on May 24 that the selection of female submariners will be placed on the agenda at the Navy’s policy conference scheduled for June. If the conference agrees (which is the likely outcome), the ROK Navy will select female crews starting in 2023.
“The policy conference decision will finalize the plan. We are preparing for three female crews aboard the KSS Dosan Ahn Changho.”
Source from the ROK Navy
The selected female sailors will undergo one year of training and education before being transferred to the submarines in 2024. The Navy has begun making the necessary preparations for at least three female crews to serve on the submarine, as the 3,000-ton submarine has much more space to accommodate crews from two genders.
South Korea will be the latest country to join an ever growing list of countries which allow women to join their submarine service. According to Naval News regular contributor and submarine expert H I Sutton, about half of all submarine operators has already had female among its submarine crews: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Canada, Germany, Poland, South Africa, United States, Venezuela, Argentina, United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, France, Portugal. The Netherlands and Japan were among the latest country to make that list, in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
According to open information, the ROK Navy (including Marine Corps) in 2020 had a total of 70,000 personnel. Among them were 2,600 women or about 3.71% of the total.