Women In Combat Roles Essay

Posted on by Brat

In the early 20th century feminism and the formation of the suffragettes swept across the nation giving more right to women. With more freedom women began serving in the U. S. military. Women started serving in the army as nurses as early as 1901 and soon the navy followed suit in 1908. During WWII, women’s roles in the military expanded as congress approved the Women’s Army Corps in 1942 (Bell). The roles of women in the military had started to open up especially with the ratification of the Equal Right Amendment.

In January of 2013, the Secretary of Defense lifted the ban on women in combat, allowing women to apply for infantry and front-line units starting in 2016. Because of the extreme conditions placed on combat personnel, some have debated for and against the inclusion of women in combat units and whether they can handle the physical and emotional stress from the environment and from the men in the units. This leads to the question: should women be allowed in combat units?

In 1994 the Pentagon placed a ban restricting women from artillery, armor, infantry and other combat roles, but nonetheless women have served alongside with combat units, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan where the front-line is blurred and every unit is in contact with the enemy. But with the ban in place, official credit for combat experience was not given which restricts a woman from advancing up in ranks ( Steinhauer). In January of 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the Obama administration would allow women to be placed in positions fighting with enemy ground forces by 2016.

This will give the military time to re-evaluate the standard exams for these positions and create gender neutral test that can be applied equally. This will allow women to fill thousands of position which were previously excluded (Boykin). With the approval on women being allowed to apply for combat positions, some have debated against this approval. Elaine Donnelly, President of Center for Military Readiness, is one who believes women should not be allowed into such programs. She states that the physical impact will weigh greatly on women, especially on smaller female soldiers.

On average women have 45 to 50 percent less upper body strength and 25 to 30 percent less aerobic capacity, which is essential for endurance. Units like infantry require operations mostly on foot, traveling long distances, but also frequently carrying loads in excess of 50 pounds. Both the short and long term health effects of such demands can be significant. Because of this, Donnelly believes women will not have an equal opportunity to survive or to help others. Furthermore, training for female soldiers is modified to compensate for physical differences.

Donnelly made a point that modification will not aid on the battlefield (The New York Times Upfront). Another concern with integrating women in combat units is the mental and emotional impact it will have on them. Elizabeth Hoisington, a Brigadier General in the U. S. Army, believes women are not mentally and emotionally qualified for combat (Bell). Now that I have given some insight against women in combat, let’s take a look at the other side of the debate. Over the past 65 years, women have served and moved up in ranks in the U. S. military.

Now with the ban lifted, some believe this is a great step towards equal rights for women and a more equal military. Brigadier General Wilma Vaught of the United States Air Force is one who believes this is a step in the right direction. Vaught believes that gender was the reason why women were not allowed in combat units, “where and how women serve in the military should be based on ability and training, not gender. ”(The New York Times Upfront) Women in the past have led men in battle, flown combat aircrafts and combat ships.

Vaught states that women meet the military’s physical and mental standards, and are technically proficient. With today’s battlefields and war on terror, there are no front-lines, and every unit has the potential to engage with the enemy. Vaught lastly stated that the U. S. should not handicap the military with outdated policies that restrict the use of capable people (The New York Times Upfront). With the extreme standards that come with these elite units, some like Gen. Vaught are positive that women are capable to do the job.

The elite combat units are among the most physically and psychologically demanding in the military. Most men fail the qualifications for these job positions, leaving some to question if woman are able capable of meeting these standards. On the contrary, some like Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught believe that women are capable in serving in combat roles and even a select few have served alongside with these units without any recognition. With the information I have collected and provided, I recommend for you to think about this issue and ask yourself this question, should women be allowed in combat units?

Work Cited


Women In Combat Essay

Women In Combat

Since the formation of the Women's Army Corps in 1942, women have held an ever-increasing role in the military. Although primarily assigned to administrative tasks at home, they also served as nurses on hospital transport aircraft carrying wounded soldiers back from the front and in field hospitals set near the front. In recognition of the service of women in the military in WWII, congress passed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948. This bill allowed women, for the first time, to pursue careers in the military. However, this also imposed several restrictions including what is now known as the combat exclusion laws; including the prohibition of women to serve on aircraft or ships involved in combat missions. The maintenance or repeal of the exclusion is a highly debated topic.

One of the problems seems to be directly in the wording of the restriction: "Women shall not be assigned to Air Force and Navy aircraft or naval vessels 'engaged in combat missions.'"(Wilson 18) This does not have anything to do, however, with the prohibition of women in ground combat units. The Army and Department of Defense has adopted a policy of direct combat probability code and risk rule to limit the likely hood of exposing women to direct combat.

Today, the combat exclusion seems to hamper the military rather that help it. To begin with, the number of women in the military has increased to nearly 11% of active forces (Wilson 18) with the number still growing. This increase has dramatically affected the number of "qualified" members of the armed forces available to participate in military actions. Because the term 'engaged in combat missions' has never been clearly defined, it has been left to the varying services to attempt to fill in the blanks and determine what the law really prohibits. For example, the Air Force defines combat mission aircraft as those whose principal mission is to deliver munitions against an enemy. This prohibits women from serving on fighter and bomber aircraft. Because the law is also interpreted as intended to protect women, they are also further prohibited from piloting reconnaissance aircraft. When the fact that women are more tolerant to G-forces than men, due to their smaller size creating a shorter distance between heart and brain, is taken into account, we can see how silly the exclusions can be.

A reason for the continued...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Women in Combat Essay

1202 words - 5 pages      Women in Front Line Combat When it comes to combat assignments and the needs of the military, men take precedence over all other considerations, including career prospects of female service members. Female military members have been encouraged to pursue opportunities and career enhancement within the armed forces, which limit them only to the needs and good of the service due to women being not as “similarly...

Women in combat why not? Essay

1101 words - 4 pages The reality is that there is absolutely no intelligent, logical, sensible reason for women not to be in combat roles with the technological style of warfare that abounds today.There are political, patriarchal, religious, and misogynistically stupid reasons to preclude women but they all belong in The Museum of Natural Idiocy next to chastity belts, urban legends, homophobia, promise creepers, senile senators, proselytizing preachers,...

The Breakdown of Women in Combat Situations.

1269 words - 5 pages Back in the Dark Ages, before feminism and egalitarianism enlightened us, conservatives used to claim that women just aren't suited for life in the military. Today, after a decade or so of applying enlightenment to the profession of arms, the Clinton administration is telling us that the military just isn't suited for women. However you phrase it, it comes out to the same thing.So perplexing have been the problems of sexually...

Women Serving in Combat Roles in the Military

1889 words - 8 pages It is worthwhile to reflect on the social and political advancements of women during the past one hundred years. Women now have the right to vote and to own property. They let their voices be heard instead of sitting silently in the kitchen. Women hold jobs previously restricted to men - police officer, firefighter, construction worker, doctor, truck driver and scientist. Obviously, this list is not all inclusive. Unfortunately,...

The Pro's and the Con's of Women Serving in Combat

1182 words - 5 pages Sue WaggonerProfessor KeeneEnglish 130216 September 2003The Pro's and the Con's of Women Serving in CombatWhether or not women should be allowed in combat is a question that rests in the minds of many Americans today. Although women are allowed to serve in the military they are still not allowed to serve in combat; why is that? Is it because today women are still not viewed as equal adversaries? These days...

Women in the Military: The Combat Exclusion Law

1304 words - 5 pages The question originally posed in the Combat Exclusion Law, regarding placement of females in combat, continues to be debated as women are placed in combat roles without adequate training (Sanchez, 2011). What distinguishes some positions as being acceptable while others are not? Who has the authority to approve exceptions, and what exceptions have been made? On May 13, 2011, a bill placed before the House of Representatives addressed the issue...

Military Women Should NOT Be Allowed in Combat Positions

1652 words - 7 pages The prospect of women in ground combat or on the front-line in the military has proven to be a controversial issue throughout decades of war. This controversy stems from criticisms such as women’s physicality versus men’s, the association of sexual-related situations within the military, and a history of failed gender-integration training. The bottom line, however, is that women should not be allowed in front-line or ground combat unless they are...

"The Combat Zone"

788 words - 3 pages American women in Vietnam “supported, opposed, and suffered the war.” (Marshall 3). The women were important in the Vietnam War. However, their importance went unrecognized for a long time. The women sacrificed their home lives just like the men to serve their country. They also suffered and witnessed many horrific events. Kathryn Marshall’s In The Combat Zone helps portray the significant roles that women performed as nurses, Red Cross...

Gender equality in armed combat

638 words - 3 pages Gender equality has been a long standing issue since the 1970's. Women of the time first adopted softer measures of equality via fashion. That's how shoulder pads came into vogue in the first place (women with shoulders as broad as men deserve as much respect was the motivation behind the unfortunate trend which has mercifully faded into oblivion). Time...

Is the exclusion of women from frontline combat sexism?

1087 words - 4 pages Excluding women from frontline combat is essentially sexist. Regardless of the many substantial contributions women have made to the United States military from the American Revolutionary war to the contemporary Iraq and Afghanistan wars, it has long been a sanctuary of masculinity, which consequently, has resulted in the organization’s steadfast resistance against women’s direct martial participation. The opponents of women frontline combat...

The Combat to Mental Terrorism

1779 words - 7 pages Before Antoine Dodson was on Oprah and had a song on iTunes, he was a man who was worried for his family. One night, he woke up to the sound of his sister screaming. Upon further investigation, he discovered there was a rapist in their apartment ("Antoine Dodson warns a perp"). Unfortunately, Mr. Dodson’s story is not a completely uncommon one. Sexual assault is one of the highest reported crimes in the United States. In 2006, there were over...

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Women In Combat Roles Essay”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *