Nearly 5years ago, a woman joining the military and ready for full combat, wasn’tplausible. Now in this era, it has become reality.
However, could such advancementbe reasonable? The result of the change places women at a disadvantage and putsthem in a greater danger than what is faced by men. Women were not made todestroy or conquer things. They were especially not made for war. Traditionallyspeaking, men fought in a war, not women.
Opening combat roles to women lends aveneer of democratic engagement without actually having any real connection tolarger society. It has been society’s fundamental belief that men do well injobs that are considered “risky” such as combat, and woman do not take part inthose fields; by doing so, she would cause the military’s fighting capabilityto be lowered because the physical strength of a woman comparedto that of a man is low. She would increase her chances of sexual harassmentand put herself at risk of becoming infertile. Most importantly it goes againstthe tradition of the military. TheWomen’sArmed Services Integration Act of 1948 excluded women from combatpositions. In January 2013, Secretary Defense Leon Panetta rescinded the groundcombat exclusion policy (Wikipedia 11 November 2017). “Over 280,000women have been deployed to war zones; over 200 women have died and over 800have been wounded in combat” (Hoit, Kate. 26 May 2014,).
To refuse a woman any position within the military especially infantry, does goagainst the Nation’s attempt to promote gender equality. However, keeping womenout of branches that requires her to go to war, for example, the Marine Corpsis not about oppressing women’s rights or sealing off gender equality. It ismainly about maintaining the most combat-effective military. The U.S.
hegemonyis slowly decreasing and nations like China, Iran, and North Korea are buildingtheir forces. The people of this country should be concerned about creating thebest trained, strongest, most ready military force to defend their nation.There currently isn’tany woman in the National Basketball Association, the National Football League,Major League Baseball, or other professional sports geared for men. Theirabsence has nothing to do with discrimination but is rooted in the fact thatwomen biologically are not able to perform physically to the same level as men.
ElizabethHoisington, who was one of the first women to attain high rank in the Armyvoiced that women should not serve in combat roles because they aren’t”physically, mentally and emotionally qualified” (U.S News. 15 May 2013).
Although feminists may be upset about such astatements or may say things like “But women may still gain the requisite upperbody muscle mass to dead lift objects just as successful as men” (FactorWomen, 9 Dec. 2009, )doesn’t make a woman biologicallystronger than a man. More so, a woman (even a trained one) cannot match that of aman’s physical strength in which the man was born with.
What men consider to bea normal physical exercise is more often than not, excruciating for women toperform. Men are typically larger than women on average, so the amount ofmuscle a man has compared to a woman shows a great deal. “Men have an average of 26 pounds moreskeletal muscle than women, and women produce more body fat than men.
” (Wolchover,Natalie. Sept. 2017,). This signals that women may have a hard timemoving quickly with gear on their backs and an even harder time maintainingpace over a long period of time. Women who are on thebattlefield will find it rather difficult to carry a wounded man from thebattlefield into safety, no matter how strong or fit they are.
Thesethings mentioned, puts undue strains on a woman’s reproductive system, whichmay lead to infertility. A woman’s health can bedamaged by constant physical loads. This refers to a woman’s reproductivesystem particularly. A study performed on women who had physically demandingjobs (military) found that “women, who were employed by an occupation that wasphysically demanding, had a lower egg count than those who didn’t normally havethose harsh physical demands.” (Newsroom, BMJ. 2017, Feb.
). Among the women going through the study, theones who held a physically demanding job had “8.8 percent of them had a loweregg reserve and 14.1 percent had fewer mature eggs than women whose jobs didnot require such physical demand.” It’s should be obvious when compared tobecoming infertile, lowering of egg count and taking on high physical demandsfor example combat; women should think twice about these concerns beforeenlisting. Women should also carefully examine how they would be perceived,when joining occupations like the military.The military ispredominantly male and women represent the minority.
Having just men living ina tiny room, no privacy designated sleeping spaces or restrooms, may be hardfor men to face but doesn’t present any operational problem. However, if one ofthe crewmembers had been a woman or two women and one man, there would beproblems. It is psychologically awkward to put mixed men and women in suchintimate settings. The Pentagon estimated “that about 6.1 percent of women havebeen assaulted”. (Kennedy, Kelly.
25 July 2013 ),and sexual assault will more than likely steadily increase due to thispsychological friction, in spite of the discipline enforced by the military.Womennegatively affect discipline in a male environment, which reduces themilitary’s combat value. By having a woman serve in direct combat may lowermission effectiveness, and hurt unit morale and cohesion. In some situations,men may act foolishly to protect women in their combat units. Both males andfemales are at risk of torture and rape but in misogynistic societies, womenare more likely to be abused. Within thecombat unit, the presence of a woman in a hyper-masculine military subculture,more than likely will lead to a sexual assault on the women or resentmenttowards her. Additionally, if a woman becomes pregnant, this may affect thedeployability of a unit especially because the unit may then have adisproportionate number of women.
American culturalvalues are highly in favor of “protecting” women, so putting women in asituation where they find themselves captured or possibly sexually harassedwill counter those values. Dating back to WWI andWWII, women couldn’t enlist in combat roles. Women had roles in the militarylike a “mail clerk, bank teller, and munitions.” (Jenson, Kimberly 2012)The closest women would get to the combat zone was if she had been part of themedical division.
Going back even further into tradition, it wasn’t acoincidence that the four fathers of this nation did not push to have women onthe front lines. Perhaps, this was because the response to female casualtieswould have less likely been forgiving. Maybe, it was understood back then, thatwomen were specially made to bear children. More so, it may have been believedwomen were to stay home and tend to household duties. Nothing has changed fromthen up until this point, except the political side of things. Whilephysically, mentally and emotionally, a woman’s make-up has remained the same. Serving in combat rolesis solely a masculine occupation, and should have remained such.
To a degree, yes a woman on the front line isa victory for equality. But those who still hope for peace, justice, and apowerful nation should not lose sight of the vision; to create and keep thestrongest, most powerful military force. Women should be incorporated into thecombat roles of the military if and only if they’re needed for backup.
However,if the backup is not needed, it would not be in the Nation’s best interests toenlist women into any combat roles, as it goes against tradition. The incorporation of women makes training fora unit take longer because they have to train harder than men do, to becomephysically fit. This can affect the readiness of a unit if a woman becomespregnant.
The Nation should beconcerned about all combat units being as strong as possible. Not with tryingto maintain a certain public image. The Nation should do this to strengthen itssecurity, which should be the most important aspect for combat units.