The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Gender equality in military becomes reality

As many recent events such as the protests fueled by the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and the scrutiny surrounding President Obama’s masculine Cabinet suggest, the United States may not be as progressive in terms of gender equality as it would seem.

These examples are why I was thrilled to see that the Department of Defense has started the process of formally lifting bans that keep women from serving in the infantry, artillery, special operations, and other combat roles.
Most importantly, lifting of this ban will allow more career advancement opportunities for women. In any field of work, experience generally accompanies promotions. According to The Washington Post, women are often passed up for promotions because they lack the experience that only active combat offers.

It is a vicious cycle to be denied a promotion because one is denied the experience that makes that promotion justifiable. An equivalent would be to say that a woman could go no further in the medical field than a nursing position because they aren’t allowed to go to school to become a surgeon. If a person were to suggest that, they would be called crazy. Why should it be different for the military?

As for the women who have managed to make it into leadership roles, how can they be expected to successfully lead without vital combat experience?

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According to the Rutgers Institute for Women’s Leadership, as of 2009, women made up 7 percent of officers at an Admiral ranking.

If a military official has not had the experience of being at the front line, I’m not sure it is a responsible decision to make them a leader of troops that might end up there.

I believe that bosses of any kind and in any given field need to know the job of those they are leading.
I have experience working as a nurse’s aid. It was always clear which of the nurses had started their careers at this level and which ones had come straight out of nursing school never having had actual contact with a resident.
Frankly, bosses need to understand what those below them are going through.

They need to know the struggles, the impossibilities of the job and frustrations. If they don’t, it is far easier to mess up. I can’t be alone in thinking that “messing up” in the military is not at all desirable.
The most common opposition from what I’ve seen to women in these roles, is that they physically can’t handle some of the things they would be required to do while functioning in these roles.

Granted, I guarantee that my weak, muscle-free arms would collapse far before reaching the 100 push-ups that make an aspiring Navy S.E.A.L. a competitive candidate. But, if some woman out there can, she should be rewarded for that.

Many of the roles that will be officially open to women require little more than being physically fit and having a functioning finger that can pull a trigger. My one experience in trying to learn how to shoot a gun was a disaster.

It did not consist of me aiming at an actual target, but rather me desperately trying not to shoot my family’s spastic dog. My younger brother was laughing manically behind me the whole time.
Does this mean that I, and women like me, are incapable of being in a situation which requires us to fire a gun? No. I firmly believe that if I had a functioning learning environment, I could master a variety of weapons.

Our military is superior to any other in the world. It is strong. It trains its soldiers effectively enough that it does not matter who plays what role after boot camp. They will get the job done at the best of
their ability.

The Washington Post reported that 152 women soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. This number affirms the importance of women in the military.

Those 152 women and others who are still serving chose to do so out of a sense of loyalty, patriotism and a deep respect for their country. Those qualities trump bulging biceps. Those qualities come out on top in a conflict. Those qualities are best suited to serve the country in whatever way the possessor of them wants.

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Gender equality in military becomes reality