By Glenne Fucci, Regular ContributorDecember 12, 2015
image via theliberatarian.com
As of late, the news has been filled with things that probably don’t make us feel too happy. It seems like everyday there is a new tragedy or event that shakes us to our core and leaves us questioning where humanity has gone. That being said, some very good news came our way recently. In the beginning of December, it was announced that all combat roles in the United States military would be open to women. Up until this announcement, women could only serve in non-combat roles, meaning they were excluded from many prominent positions within the military.
This policy change is a major victory for all lady-kind for several reasons.
First, allowing women in combat roles will effectively eliminate all bars to particular positions in the military. Since allowing women to serve in the military, there has been an inherent power imbalance between men and women, with women often relegated to second-tier status because they were limited to certain positions. While there may have been some justification at some point in history for the physical limitations of women (leading to the conclusion that they were unfit for combat roles), that assumption has been shattered this year but women completing Army Ranger school - a training program much more rigorous than the average combat training program. Additionally, the military will not be lowering the standards for women, meaning they will have to meet the same qualifications as men to obtain combat positions so that everyone will be evaluated equally in selection for these positions.
Second, the fact that this measure has garnered support from three of the four military branches suggests that times are changing and the military has come to recognize the importance that women play in the military mission. Although the Marines has opposed this policy, their justification mainly rests on the history of the military as a predominantly male institution so that introducing women into these units will disrupt the camaraderie of the men. As the policy demonstrates though, times have changed; 100 years ago we may not have had female combat troops, but we also didn’t have cellphones, the internet, or commercial flight. I think we can all agree that just because those things didn’t exist before the first World War, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist now. I think that as history now shows that nearly every job available to men of the U.S. has also become available to women, removing the bar to women serving in combat roles is the next logical step.
Lastly, this new policy recognizes the important role that women have always had, but particularly in the last ten years, in the military mission.
Thousands of women have served in the Middle East and, due to the shifting nature of how wars are fought, have played in an invaluable part in furthering the mission. We, ladies, tend to have pretty good interpersonal skills and often excel in our ability to listen with compassion. In some tribal areas, women are not permitted to speak with men who are not their family members, so female combat troops are essential to effectively communicate with 50 percent of the population in some areas. Aside from social skills though, I think we can also all agree that we know some pretty unbelievable female athletes in our lives -- the kind are that are more than capable of trekking up a mountain with the world’s heaviest backpack. It seems only natural that they should get to put their physical fitness to the test in combat should they want to.
Until last week, it wasn’t possible for a girl to say, “I want to grow up and be a soldier in combat” (okay, I guess she could technically say it, but legally it could not have come true). As of 2016 though, all people will have the same opportunities to obtain the same positions in the United States military. Just like many nations before us have done, the gender barrier for particular jobs in the armed forces has been broken down. Ladies -- we have come so far in regards to gender equality (even though, we have so much farther to go), and we’ve taken a big chunk out of the glass ceiling through combat integration. Now that is news to be happy about it!
What do you think of the military's new acceptance of women in combat roles? Tell us below!
Glenne is a third year law student hailing from NYC, University of Michigan ‘13 grad and Beyonce enthusiast. Currently residing in Korea, my interests include duathlons/triathlons, traveling near and far, documentary films, consuming sugary cereal, watching mid-2000s teen dramas and singing my heart out at Betty Who concerts. You can watch me attempt to navigate Asia and beyond on Instagram @glennefucci.
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