Equality? The Military Opens More Jobs to Women, But Not All

At one point in time, women were not allowed to join any form of the military. Warfare along with many other jobs in the military that had to do with danger, or any great deal of importance had been seen as a job solely for men. This sexist restriction of jobs could have been due to several factors. To begin, Men have always been acknowledged as the protectors of women and children in a society, and it would have been seen as wrong for men to allow women the same job. Women began to take jobs in the military, but only in female occupations. For instance, women became of great use as nurses and supply clerks during war time.

Although, as we have progressed into a much different society over the years, most sexist issues concerning men and women in the work place have become resolved.

Currently, there are only a small percentage of military occupations restricted to men. The military now allows women to take jobs concerning extreme danger. For example, women are now allowed to participate in combat units. According to USA Today News, the Pentagon, “will lift parts of its longtime ban on women serving in combat units, but only a small fraction of the force will be affected, officials announced Thursday. The change will open up about 1% of military jobs to women, but about 20% of jobs across the active-duty force will remain restricted to men.”(1)

This is yet another example of how politics have had to come into play just to allow women to gain more equal representation within the military. So why has it taken so long for men to allow women the same opportunities as men in the military? The only explanation to consider is that women are still not viewed as a man’s equal. For example, the military still restricts some important jobs after the Pentagon’s new guidelines, “several restrictions will remain. The secretaries of each branch of service will retain authority to restrict women from jobs in the special operations units, jobs deemed physically demanding, and from assignment to units where privacy and separate sleeping accommodations are not feasible.”(1) In my opinion, these restrictions should be lifted. Women who are able to make it through basic training should be allowed the same opportunity for special operations. According to the Pittsburgh Gazette, the Marine Corps has a large problem with this as well, “Sgt. Williams and her fellow female soldiers and Marines are far from being able to do “anything” in the military, a fact that irritates proponents of full gender equality. The Department of Defense prohibits women from serving with the infantry, special forces, armor, field artillery and on submarines.”(2) There are some women who are able to do more physically than some males. Other explanations have been proposed about this equality difference between the sexes, “Current policy defines “direct combat” as “engaging an enemy on the ground with individual or crew-served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with hostile personnel.”The issue of women in combat has tended to revolve around criticism that career and promotion opportunities for women in uniform are limited because they cannot serve in jobs central to wartime missions and, as a result, are underrepresented in the Pentagon’s senior leadership. Defense officials rejected that notion.”(1) This explanation has a high probability of being correct. Men that are in charge of these decisions still feel that women are not equal. I feel as though a woman can do any job a man can do in the military. The main question is, “what will it take for there to be equality between men and women in our armed forces?”

(1) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-02-09/military-rules-women/53031022/1

(2) http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/us/full-gender-equality-still-an-issue-for-the-military-414646/


About Kyle Kirby

Hi, my name is Kyle and I am 21 years old. I'm a senior, I am a criminal justice major. I will be graduating this summer and soon after I will hopefully be commissioning in the military as an officer.
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4 Responses to Equality? The Military Opens More Jobs to Women, But Not All

  1. loganmeyer says:

    Interesting article. In my opinion women should be allowed to serve in the combat units of military formations.

    — I do think though, that women should not be on emergency rescue teams such as firefighting. For example, a woman would be less likely able to fireman’s carry someone to safety who is passed out from smoke or fire debris. Most males weight much more than females, although there are some exceptions. I weigh 195 pounds and I would much rather a man carry my dead weight to safety than a female, who would potentially have problems because they are less muscular and a much smaller physical frame.

  2. Kyle Kirby says:

    Agreed, there usually are differences in the strength capacity of women in comparison to men. Although, in reference to your comment about emergency crew members it would be the same in combat. Just as in emergency situations, combatants in war time can be expected to be able to carry others if the situation calls for it.

  3. In your first paragraph you make an important observation when you note that men see themselves as the protectors of women and children. To have a woman take up that role too must somehow reflect badly on the man. This is a great symbolic argument, you can almost picture a structuralist like Levi-Strauss making the same point. I think we have to entertain the idea that if a woman can do the job and men still object to their presence there’s got to be something else going on the level of belief or values that’s separate from reason and evidence.

    • Kyle Kirby says:

      I agree, I believe it is just a cultural thing that began along time ago and it is still something that goes on today. It could also be innate in a sense, or instinct that makes men not want to change how things are. Under a circumstance such as this men are living in a culturally changing world, where women are taking on the same gender roles.

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