Women in Combat


“Anything you can do, I can do better.” This dictum is often used when talking about gender equality. For centuries, women and men have held different roles in society. Women were looked at as the home runners. Their life primarily consisted of taking care of their children and husband. The man’s job was to work and provide for his family. As time progressed, women wanted more freedom. They started going into the social spheres of society, working with men. They wanted to prove that they were just as capable as men. Now this issue is reappearing as women fight to join men on the front line. But can women really fill this role? The standards for women in the military are lower than those of men. In physical fitness tests, they do not have to reach the same goals as men. However, war does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are a woman or a man. Looking at the facts, the average weight carried by a soldier on a dismounted operation is about 100 pounds, including a 30- to 40-pound rucksack*. The average woman weighs 164 pounds. This means that they would have to carry over 60% of their body weight. Also, the average man weighs 175 pounds. I bring this up because if a fellow soldier is badly injured, would it be physically possible for a woman to carry her rucksack and help the fallen soldier to safety? Also, women go through menstrual cycles. With the carry load already 60% of their body weight, having to carry around feminine products would add to the already heavy load.Image And what if they run out of feminine products while on a mission?  Menstrual cycles can also make women vulnerable. They can get yeast infections and suffer from cramps. This can inhibit their productivity. A third point to consider is drafting. All men must register for a draft, because it is their right to fight in a war. If women are allowed on the front line, should they too have to register? Having the equality to fight is having the equality to be drafted. Would the majority of women accept having to register for the draft? In the end, although women are capable of many things, we have to evaluate their contributions at the front line.



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8 Responses to Women in Combat

  1. The physical capabilities of women can be bypassed. Plenty of women work out and lift wieghts and can lift the same loads as men. Also there are birth controls on the market that can allow women to not have a period. The question of the draft is what is more serious, as well as the psychological aspect of how men soldiers would view a woman as a fellow soldier in arms during combat.

    • andrewparkeriii says:

      Though it is true that there are women body builders, they represent only a small percentage of the female population. So do you believe that it should be mandatory for women in the military to work out and lift weights until they can lift the same amount as men? Also, on the issue of birth control, it seems the only birth control that would work in this instance are IUD’s or the injectable kind since it is not feasible for women to have to worry about taking a pill at the same time every day. And in the event that they run out of pills while on a mission and are unable to obtain anymore, what would they do? Also, women work alongside men in the military now, though not necessarily on the front lines. However, don’t men make strong bonds with the men they are on the front line with? I feel as though it would be the same for women. However, is it possible that having women fighting beside them may compromise their efforts? I feel that men would see these women as their mothers or sisters and would therefore risk more to protect them.

  2. I thought it was interesting that you consider menstruation and cramps as being detrimental to a woman’s performance in a physically intense situation. Indeed, many men do perceive this as a liability for women as if it were something that makes them weaker. At the same time many men subscribe to the maxim of “No pain, no gain,” as if enduring pain were something that makes them stronger. Why not extend that to women as well? Could it not be that menstruation is actually a source of strength?

    • andrewparkeriii says:

      Though I do see menstruation a strength for women, it is also a very big obstacle. Women are not able to control their cycles, even with birth control sometimes. Therefore, if it does occur such as on a mission, would the woman be distracted by it? And this could inhibit her performance. Also, I believe the “no pain, no gain” saying is a product of society which says that men should be stronger and more resistant to pain than women. However, it is scientifically proven that men have a higher pain tolerance due to having a larger areas in the brain responsible for pain control such as the thalamus. Though this does not mean that every guy tolerates pain better, it is a fact that needs to be considered.

  3. mziar001 says:

    Regarding a draft, I don’t think that women will ever have to apply for the selective service as males have to at 18 years. The female role accepted by society is a mother which will prohibit them from mandatory application.
    It was very interesting that you considered female products, not to mention the menstrual cycle; I never thought of that. I agree with letting women on the front line; however, there are issues that add to opposite sexes in certain environments, which could hinder the mission. Questions were raised in allowing women on submarines and how the environment needed to be transformed to meet certain needs. Thus far, it has been successful.
    Carrying excessive amounts of weight in a combat zone is questionable whether females can physically do it due to their anatomical makeup. However, I have seen females in the Special Operations Community. Recently the Marine Corps changed their physical fitness test for females from the flexed-arm-hang to pull-ups.

    • andrewparkeriii says:

      It is true that the female role created by society has historically been that of a mother residing in the home sphere and not social sphere. However, the past few decades have started to defy that role. With women entering the work force and doing jobs that were primarily thought to be male only, these women have upset this gender role. With women wanting equality in the military, shouldn’t they have the equality of registering for the draft? I believe it would still be a big form of discrimination to say that since women are the “mothers” of society, they should not have to submit to a draft. Fathers have increasingly started to be stay-at-home dads, so should they be exempt from the draft? Also, it would be hard to customize the front line for women. When fighting in combat, it is irrational to make sure the environment is suitable for women. I agree that some women are able to carry the same amount as men however, there are very few. The Marine Corps has started in the right direction making the physical fitness tests equal for men and women. However, there is a long way to go. If women expect the right to be able to fight on the front line, they should expect to have to go through the same physical fitness tests.

  4. acluv002 says:

    While I’m still undecided on women on the front lines (may distract males because they feel the need to protect the woman more) I don’t think feminine products would really be an issue. Being a male, I’m not real real knowledgeable about feminine products but I honestly can’t see the weight of them being a problem. I mean how much does a tampon weigh anyways? But I do agree that if women want to be on the front lines they should have to meet the same requirements of men. They should be soldier standards not male soldier standards or female soldier standards.

    • andrewparkeriii says:

      Though individual feminine products do not weigh much, they do take up valuable space for other things needed for the front line. And to be safe, wouldn’t the woman want to carry as many feminine products as she could just in case? Though individually they do not weigh much, together they add on extra weight to the already very heavy rucksacks. Is it worth it?

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