Column - Women are fit to play larger role in military
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012 01:04
As of April 18, the Marine Corps has finally allowed women to enroll in the Marine Corps school that trains infantrymen by allowing them to partake in the Infantry Officers Course.
This course normally trains officers to serve and lead troops in combat. It will prepare women to command troops in battle whereas they mainly play roles in logistics, aircraft maintenance and personnel administration.
The decision to allow women to participate in this course came as a result of the branch’s research campaign, which determined what jobs could be opened to women.
Participation in the course is on a volunteer basis, so it is hard to determine how large the class size will be. Regardless, this is a brilliant and empowering move for women.
Laws banning women were repealed 20 years ago, however, other limits were set, and now with the ever-changing nature of combat, women are getting the chance to prove they are not the weaker sex.
These restrictions are a special type of gender discrimination, much like "don’t ask, don’t tell" was to gay and lesbian soldiers.
While allowing women into the course is a small step, it has a lot of potential to lead to big changes and a wider role for women in the military.
An article from www.jezebel.com says if this change is successful and women are able to keep up with their male counterparts, they could possibly play roles in tank crews, artillery and even the infantry.
Allowing women to fight alongside men is not going to disrupt unit cohesion like critics claim.
Women have been playing vital roles in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. While they are supposed to only be playing supporting roles, many have been thrust into the middle of the conflict as truck drivers, mechanics and mail clerks among other things.
One hundred and forty- four women have been killed and about 865 have been injured in their supporting roles. If women are able to die for their country, they might as well be able to fight for it directly.
In 2005, the U.S. military awarded Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester a Silver Star for her role in a battle south of Baghdad in March. This was the first time since World War II a woman had been recognized for exceptional valor in close combat.
Another female soldier, Army Sgt. Rachel Deaton, went to Iraq as a mechanic but ended up providing security for convoys and going out on night patrols.
Women play incredibly vital roles in the military right now, and extending this role is not going to have a negative effect on the military. Men have to pass assessments before they are deemed fit for a specific job, and women will have to do that as well.
If a woman is physically incapable of serving actively in combat, she will not be allowed into the job, just like if a man was incapable.
Women have already proven their capability, and there is no second-guessing that today. In the past, women were seen as inferior because no one knew how they would react to combat.
After every war, they have proved themselves to be a vital part of the military’s success. To restrict women in the military is to impede the military as a whole.