Senior flight nurse at the Philippine Air Force for more than 20 years, Filipina nurse Darlene Flores, known as Colonel Flores, encouraged the presence of women in the military field.
Darlene shared that she became part of the Philippine Air Force as she already had a background in the military field, noting that her family were soldiers and had already served the country.
Seeing the little opportunity for nurses in the Philippines, she chose to serve in the military as a nurse, even though she knew that this is commonly done by men, even in the medical field.
“Nursing remains a female-dominated profession, but when you enter the service, there are a bunch of guys, and women become the minority in the organization,” she said.
Other than seeing men dominating the medical field in the military, Darlene also shared how the physical appearance of soldiers doubted her skills for once because her physical appearance differed greatly from these military men.
“When you get into a room full of men, you will feel conscious because you will see that you will be the only one with long hair compared to them with clean-cut hair,” she shared.
Hence, this feeling did not last long, as she knew that her skills would still be the relevant factor in entering such a field, which should be greater than physical appearances. “But that is just physical appearance. What you bring to the room is you and being a woman, and that makes all the difference in the world,” she said.
“In the military, we have men who are basically macho image because that’s how they were brought up, and this is reflected in their attitude sometimes, which you can’t prevent. But if you are confident in what you can do and you bring it there, and they see you for who you are, then they will have a reason to believe you because they will know that you are good at what you do and that you are sincere in your work,” she added.
With this perspective, Darlene has excelled in her work as she gained a top six ranking during her course in the military, topping more than 100 of her colleagues who were men, and also continued to strive in the field while taking care of her two children with autism.
“You will have a diploma for that course and will represent that ‘you did it’ and it somehow gave me a boost that I can also do something that a guy does and I can be on top also,” she said.
This inspiring story from Colonel Flores has proven that even in the most male-dominated field, there will always be a spot for women because there are skills that a woman can bring out that will help a sector excel more.