Women Will Finally Be Given Equal Opportunity in Combat
Following on the footsteps of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the Pentagon is now considering giving women the opportunity to serve fully in "front-line combat units". This attempt at diversity will give women the opportunity to progress into the higher ranks in the same way that men are able to do so presently. Active participation in a combat unit is considered the fast-track to getting promoted.
The controversy around women being able to fully function in combat units has to do with the fear of a backlash from society if too many women are returning home in body bags. Then there is the age-old feeling that women are not as physically strong as men, therefore they do not have the strength and stamina required to fight in combat.
The Military Leadership Diversity Commission, was the first Military office to recommend that women be given the opportunity to serve in combat units. According to the Commission, this would create a "level playing field" for all qualified service members whether male or female.
"While barred from combat units, women are often attached to those units in support roles, and are at equal risk from the new weapons of war — roadside devices, ambushes and suicide bombers." Given this reality, it makes sense to give these women who are exposed to the possibility of being killed in the act of supporting the combat units, the opportunity to fully serve on the front-line.
"As with racial integration, military studies find that allowing gays to serve openly and lifting the combat ban on women will increase morale and unit cohesion."
Despite this recommended change, women in the military will still have to fight to end discrimination in the area of veteran's benefits, and sexual assaults. According to reports from the Pentagon, sexual assaults rose 11% in 2009.
The Pentagon reveals that this is not due to an increase in the actual number of assaults, but an increase in reporting. The military is working diligently to insure that this number does not increase.
Kudos to the military for making an effort to bring equal employment opportunity to all qualified service members! Let's keep an eye on how far they really will go to having a "level playing field", not just giving lip-service to a "level playing field".