Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
From the time that the military decided to put women into combat roles, I knew that it was going to be a bad decision for everyone: for men, for women, and for the military. I don’t object to women being in the military, especially in a volunteer army, and with the shortage of candidates. But the premises that were hidden underneath the explanations of equal opportunity to put women in combat roles are what disturb me the most.
A new report was just issued regarding the status of women in special operations units:
Female soldiers face rampant sexism, harassment and other gender-related challenges in male dominated Army special operations units, according to a report Monday, eight years after the Pentagon opened all combat jobs to women.
U.S. Army Special Operations Command, in a lengthy study, reported a wide range of ‘overtly sexist’ comments from male soldiers, including a broad aversion to females serving in commando units. The comments, it said, are ‘not outliers’ but represent a common sentiment that women don’t belong on special operations teams.
More than 5,000 people were assigned to these units, including 837 female troops, 3,238 male troops, and the rest defense civilians.
The decision to admit women to Special Operations has never made sense to me, and now with so many other opportunities open to women throughout society, it makes even less sense.
I think there are many myths underlying the importance of women in combat roles.
- We need women’s voices in the military. My question is, why in combat roles? Men and women have different interests and skill areas; in what way does a woman’s voice in a combat role contribute to a better military?
- Women need to have the exact same opportunities as men. The problem is that we assume that women should be able to do exactly the same jobs as men, because men’s jobs are—what? —more important? Do we not need every single person that staffs a support job to work at a high level and at high standards? Doesn’t it matter that the non-combat jobs are critical to success on the battlefield?
- The Army apparently holds in higher esteem combat jobs rather than the non-combat jobs. That seems like a valid assessment, since the combat roles require the soldier to put his life on the line; the sacrifice is the ultimate one. On the other hand, non-combat jobs can make extreme demands; are there avenues for promotion when a woman is in a non-combat role?
- Women say they want to be treated like men. So why do some women expect special accommodations for pregnancy? Or believe the Army should pay for their abortions and expenses when they have to travel for treatment? Or pay for their child care?
- Women want to be able to serve like their military families of origin. Why can’t they serve in a non-combat role? Besides, isn’t serving all about serving the country? Or is it about you getting your personal goals met?
- Women shouldn’t be excluded because the job is dangerous. Why not? Why should they risk leaving their children motherless when they can serve in safer roles?
* * * *
I don’t want to give people the impression that I think women shouldn’t be in the military. And I believe we have some military women on this site. It’s tough enough serving with children, tolerating the separations and other challenges. But to have the danger of the job darkening the background doesn’t make sense to me. Especially when there are challenges to making women’s roles equal.
I also can’t help wondering if this is an insidious after-effect of feminism. I know I made choices in my life early due to the feminist influence. But to what degree are women desiring combat positions to prove that they are equal to or better than men?
It’s no surprise that some of the servicemen are behaving badly and it shouldn’t be tolerated. Instead, what I see is that men are being forced to take meaningless training, which takes valuable time and dollars, probably creates resentment, and will probably be ignored by the violators. I know that men in the military still harass women, and I’d like the military to make more of an effort to punish the violators. I’d also like to identify a way for women to believe they need to speak up when they are harassed. Here are some of the training subjects for the men to get them to behave:
The report made 42 recommendations. Several involving increased training and messages to the force to expand awareness of sexual harassment, mentorship, health care and other issues, have been done. Other changes are in progress.
Overall, the report said that gender bias is ‘deeply embedded’ in staffing and equipping the special operations force.
And are standards being lowered? There’s this point:
While there is solid agreement that standards cannot be lowered for females, many interpret that as prohibiting any gender-specific accommodations.
‘Women may require different tools than men to perform the same task,” the report said. “A mentality change is necessary to modify the archaic attitude that supplying tools to female service members is an act of accommodation versus simply providing our warfighters with the right tools for the job.’
So they’re trying to say the standards are simply different, not lower.
For those who are military and retired military, what do you think?Published in