Women in the Military

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Men and women live in society jointly. According to the U.S. Constitution, all men are created equal, and thus includes women. Although everyone is considered equal, history of women in the military proves different. Many contributions have been given to the military by women for hundreds of years. 'Women's struggle for a place in the armed forces has been about seeking the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship' They have earned the right to the recruiting poster?s promise and challenge: 'Be All You Can Be'" Major General Jeanne Holm, USAF(Ret.) (Women 4 Mar 1998). Although the Military standards have been set, equal opportunity regardless of race, gender, or religion, "glass ceilings" are still in effect in the military. According to the Active Duty Military Personnel by Grade/Rank and Gender 1997 and 1995 chart, women are still stopped by a "glass ceiling". At the grade of O-10 from both 1997 and 1995, zero women had achieved this status. At O-9, two women and at O-8, three women respectively. For total officers in 1997 only 13.53% were women and total enlisted only 13.71% were women(Glass 4 Mar 1998). These facts and figures show the difficulty that women have had in breaking through the "glass ceiling" even today when women have proven themselves to be competent and successful. Women have served in the military for hundreds of years. The "official" history of the United States military begins in the 20th century with the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901 (American 4 Mar 1998). These women worked hard and dedicated to the troops and their country. They cared for the sick and wounded, identified and buried the dead, cooked, sewed, and laundered(American 4 Mar 1998). Although these women worked diligently and were dedicated, they were considered officially invisible and only earned half rations and earned the name Camp Followers(American 4 Mar 1998). Tending to the sick was considered woman?s work. Until 1901, they were civilian volunteers or contract workers who had no rank and received no benefits(American 4 Mar 1998). A bill was written by Dr. McGee to establish a permanent Nurse Corps of June 20, Congress passed this bill in 1901(American 4 Mar 1998). The United States Navy Nurse Corps was established on May 13,1908. At that time, no provisions had been made for rank and rating compensation equal to the Navy?s personnel(Women WWI 26 May 1999). In 1913 Navy nurses began serving on ships aboard the USS Mayflower and the USS Dolphin(American 26May 1999).

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