Most people don’t realize that women have fought alongside men since the Revolutionary War. The roles may have been different than the men, but women still served and fought. The roles of women in the military have evolved over the years and the opportunities continue to expand in different fields. Women in the military have always proven themselves to be an asset despite some of the beliefs of many that women do not belong in the military, let alone in combat. Today there are over 200,000 women in the military, with 74,000 women enlisted in the Army alone.
It is important for the military’s future to continue to expand the opportunities for women in the military, and that includes placing women in combat. Women have not been allowed in combat for years, despite being given the same training and carrying the same weapon as men. If they meet the specified requirements, they should serve regardless of gender. According to the U.S. Constitution all men (and women) are created equal. A woman in the military is just as capable as any man. Some people would argue that it is not right to have women killed or wounded in combat. However, there are other professions where women are put in harm’s way just like men. For example, female firefighters and law enforcement officers can protect the people of their communities.
Equal Opportunity for Women in the Military
Gender integration in the military has always been an issue due to social acceptance, or if women will be treated with the same respect and honor as men. Since I joined the military in 1988, I have seen more and more roles open up for women. When I was a young soldier in the Navy, women were not allowed on combat ships or in combat roles. But now women are posted on all ships—combat or not. They are now allowed to be Navy divers, Seabees, and more. But the Navy isn’t the only branch with new opportunities for women: the Army now allows women to attend ranger school. Before long women will be allowed to qualify for Navy SEAL Teams. The Marines have had female officers attending infantry schools for the past few years, and women are now in Marine Infantry divisions.
I have been an Army Ranger for 12 years. I have had male soldiers that performed poorly and probably should not have been in the infantry. I have also been overseas with women in different roles that could have out-performed a lot of men. Unless you give them the same opportunity to perform in certain roles, you’ll only notice the differences of gender and not the capability to succeed. Women need to continue to be given the same opportunities in the military as males.