30 years ago, the South African Navy integrated women into the male-dominated environment. The South African Navy recently announced the appointment of the first woman as a rear-admiral. The position is the private sector equivalent to that of a chief director.
Rear-Admiral Gladys Mbulaheni from Soweto was appointed two months ago. “It’s a great achievement for me. It’s also a sign that the wheels of change and transformation are moving forward, albeit at a deliberate pace” said Mbulaheni.
“Furthermore, it’s an assertion the women in the SA Navy are recognised and have an important role to play.”The appointment is a test of my commitment, owing to the challenges the organisation is faced with,” she said.
SA Navy spokesperson Commander Sam Khasuli said the appointment of Rear-Admiral Mbulaheni signifies strides the Navy has made in streamlining the organisation for recognition of the role that women play.”
Mbulaheni has a BA degree in government administration and development, a postgraduate diploma in security studies, and is pursuing an MBA degree. She was also the first woman to be appointed as the director of HR maintenance in 2010.
Her immediate focus whilst in the position as Rear Admiral will be to spearhead and work towards a transformed Navy with women visibility in combat roles, improved HR processes and procedures, and aligned and enhanced coordination between the SA Navy and other services and divisions.
“My appointment brings about the hope that women find their rightful place in the Navy structure, “said Mbulaheni. Some of her personal achievements include being appointed to the Government Employees Pension Fund Board of Trustees, as well as admitted as a member of the Institute of Directors of South Africa.