Women have served in or with the military in myriad capacities. Their diverse roles included nurse, physician, laundress, armament worker and combatant. So as we can see the bulk of the serving from women has been in supporting roles. American women have demonstrated their martial courage and competence in every US war. (Small, 2012).
In today’s military, women were no longer confined to traditional roles in the medical and administrative fields. Almost all military job categories and military occupational specialties (MOS) have been opened to women. They now repair tanks, warplanes, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s). They serve on naval vessels that deploy to service ships and submarines of the operational fleet and on Coast Guard cutters operating off United States shores. They serve on missile crews, operate heavy equipment, and direct air traffic.
One belief is that women are not able to fulfill the required fitness standards because of their smaller size. Another belief is that women do not have the same endurance as men. Over the past 14 years the men and women of the United States have been fighting together in the war against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. The dynamic war on terrorism has no clear front lines and many women have been involved in direct combat with the enemy even though they are not formally able to serve in combat job rolls. According to US military expert Rod Powers “about 114 women have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terrorism” (Powers, R. (n.d.)).
Gender integration in the military has always faced the question of social acceptance, whether society can accept how women will be treated and respected in the military. In 1944, the Department of Defense placed a policy (Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule) that prohibited woman from being assigned to a direct ground combat unit, below the brigade level. Even though, women make up approximately 15 percent, of the U.S Military and in the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In Jan 24 2013, combat MOS’s were officially opened to women, although women have been serving in branches such as military police, artillery and transportation. In all of these branches, women were required to be in the front lines and serve in leadership positions.
Even though some people have their doubts, women are now able to serve in combat positions. In the next couple years’ women will be fully integrated into the U.S. Military. Works Cited Griffin, Rodman D. “What role should women play in the shrinking Military?”. Women in the Military. 25 Sept. 1992:841.
The first reason that women in the United States Navy have proven that they do belong is because many women have overcome gender-based biases. In Brian Mitchell’s book ‘Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster’ he clearly states his opposition of women being in the military. “Forthe opponents of integration, the requirement that the authority of the service ‘must be exercised within a program providing for the orderly and expeditious admission of women’ meant that there would be no ‘survival of the fittest’ in the admissions process: the services were compelled to admit some women one way or another.” He believes that women are not worthy of being admitted to the services and that it is a requirement forced upon the services to select amount women. However, women do deserve it because many women have taken these criticisms in stride and have proven that they do belong. The numbers alone of women in the Navy is solid evidence of this.
Should women serve in combat positions? The Combat Exclusion Law has dealt with this question since the 1940’s. As time continues, the question remains. The military has increased the percentage of females allowed to be enlisted and commissioned in the services as well as increasing the positions allotted to them (Matthews, Ender, Laurence, & Rohall, 2009). Keenan posits “women have served with distinction in … the Revolutionary War…as volunteer nurses and were only occasionally in the direct line of fire…four nurses evacuating 42 patients while the Germans bombed their field hospital…” (the DoD Combat Exclusion Policy) pg.
For example, women became Army transport helicopter pilots and were assigned to nuclear missile sites. The rapid increase in military technology as well as changes in the whole concep... ... middle of paper ... ... The General Accounting Office concluded in a hearing on May 8th 1999 that combat inclusion is the greatest impediment to women attaining higher military rank. Until qualified women are given access to assignments that are central to the militaries mission, they will be marginalized. Sexual harassment is a huge problem in the military today.
Now women are found on the fronts lines. Also, during World War II, women who were nurses at Pearl Harbor came into a combat situation in which they were to engage and kill the enemy (Manilla Bulletin). An increase of women in the military has impacted the military by having different job roles, expanding military positions, and increasing more sexual assaults. The first reason women affect the military is their roles. Women in combat have served as long as men have and for many years have not been treated as equally as the men.
Currently, women are involved in all branches of the Armed Forces; there are around 74,000 women in the Army, 62,000 in the Air Force, 53,000 in the Navy, and 14,000 in the Marine Corps (By the numbers: Women in the U.S. Military). Military women continue to push for all fields to allow women to participate and advance their careers at the same rate as their fellow male soldiers. It is important for women to join the U.S. Military not only for life experiences and the honor of serving the country, but also to be a part of history with the progression of equality for equal opportunities for women in the United States Military. Even though it wasn’t until the last two years of World War One that women were legally allowed to join the military, women have played a variety of roles in the history of America’s military. During the times of the Revolutionary War women would follow their husbands to war camps to serve as cooks and nurses as well as to fight alongside their spouse, for this reason many women became known as “camp followers” (Time Line: Women in the U.S. Military).