On 1st January of 2001, all career paths in the german Bundeswehr have been made available for women without any restrictions. 19 year old Stefanie Balbierz signed as a professional soldier about to serve for (at least) 8 years. Her non-commissioned officer education as a "Stabsunteroffizier" starts with a 3-months basic military training in Seedorf, Germany. Her daily routine starts at 4:30 a.m. with only 10 minutes of time to get dressed. Attendance check is at 4:40, early morning exercises start at 4:50, then 20 minutes time for personal hygiene, 10 minutes for cleaning her room and finally breakfast. At 9am the recruits start marching towards the firing range for weapon-training, then in-field practice, a quick lunch and afterwards sport exercises. One training follows the other. Sweating all over, Stefanie and her fellow soldiers arrive at an area in the woods which will be their home for the next three days. The weather is cold and humid in November. Among her buddies there's no time to be prudish. Women - just like man - have to get out of their wet clothes quickly and put on something more weather-proof. Gender equality is taken seriously at the german Bundeswehr. At the end of her 3-months training, Stefanie has fought hard and struggled her way through for her place at the german army.
Being questioned if she will miss the time of this hard to the bone training she can't really give an answer yet, but her instructors always tell her:
"These past three months will be something she'll always remember as the best time during her whole career at the german army."