By Glenne Fucci, Regular ContributorAugust 26, 2015
This week something pretty incredible happened -- two women completed and graduated from the United States Army Ranger School. For the first time, in the history of the military, two females endured the grueling, months-long course alongside hundreds of men.
Out of everyone that started the course, only 94 men and the two women made the cut.
image via businessinsider.com
However, there’s a catch. The irony of the women’s completion of the course is that while their male counterparts can go on to any position in the Army, including the coveted Special Forces team, the two women are limited in the positions they can obtain. Despite performing the same tasks as the men and meeting the same standards that Ranger school has implemented for historically all-male classes, they are excluded from several occupations within the Army. This certainly doesn’t seem like the 2015 in which women are told they can do and be anything....
Whether or not we know much about the military, these women are inspirations to us all. First, the sheer athleticism required to complete the Ranger Course, whether male or female, is unbelievable. I spent my summer interning as a civilian legal intern in the military, but was still required to get up at 6AM every day and do physical training with the soldiers and officers. I can tell you from experience, doing planks in the mud in the pouring rain when the humidity is at a melting 90% is something that I really hope you will never have to do.
Despite nine weeks of PT, I still am incapable of doing one single pull up, and I can only do about ten push-ups before my noodle arms give out in a faceplant. As a runner, about the only thing I was decent at was beating the boys on the long runs or completing the two mile Army run in just about 14 minutes.
To put it in perspective, these ladies had to do 49 pushups, 59 situps, six chinups and a five mile run in 40 minutes. And that’s just the qualifying portion of the course!
The second, and maybe more relatable reason these women are so incredible is because they willing entered into a program that had never been taken on by women. They were the first and were likely to experience hostility from the decades-old, all-boys club. In addition to being put in very uncomfortable physical situations, they were expected to seamlessly blend into the male culture that is so dominant in the military.
In short, they had a pretty big responsibility - they would be used to help determine whether the Army will open up all positions to both women.
Meaning, that it didn’t bode well for female soldiers should not one woman complete Ranger school. Basically, the futures of thousands of women rested on the shoulders of these ladies (maybe that’s what they were carrying in those ridiculously heavy ruck sacks while on a 12 mile mountain march). Lucky, for all of us, their completion of the course will hopefully lead to the integration of women throughout the military.
Perhaps most importantly, what these two ladies did for us was give us hope -- but also reminded us of how far we still need to go. As I said before, it’s 2015 and we still have so many ladies doing “firsts”. As these two women have demonstrated, females are capable of completing the Ranger course (and therefore should have the same military opportunities as their male counterparts). As the countries around the globe demonstrate, women are more than capable of leading nations, especially because in the U.S. they are graduating college and law school at higher rates than men. But despite all these steps forward, we have to remember that although we make up about half the population, since the founding of this country we have never had a female President. And that although women are completing one of the most grueling military courses in the world, they still make up far less than one quarter of the armed forces.
These two women give us all inspiration, but I hope they also light the fire within you to go out and conquer the world.
They have showed us that we should dream big and blaze the trail and pave the path for our fellow ladies. Know that you are capable of it all - it might require you to roll around in some metaphorical mud, but if you’re dedicated and passionate you, too, can be the “first woman” to do something. And then one day we won’t need to start any news articles with, “the first woman,” because we’ll have already done it all!
What's a "first" that you want to do? How can you use these women as inspiration? 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, her interests include duathlons/triathlons, traveling near and far, documentary films, consuming sugary cereal, watching mid-2000s teen dramas and singing her heart out at Betty Who concerts. You can watch her attempt to navigate Asia and beyond on Instagram @glennefucci.
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