The military personnel model has traditionally been premised around a young male force supported by stay-at-home spouses. Such a model is built into how the military conceives of its personnel, from the language embedded in parental leave policies that assumes a woman is the primary caregiver, to the names of base support and spouse groups.
An industrial – age model leaves much to be desired for dual – professional couples as well as those service members who want to have families.
Updating this model to become more agile is not just important for supporting talent management across the force, but also is imperative for establishing inroads and support for women in combat arms billets, where women are still a significant minority.
Note that the percentage of women in the services overall has been rising, and female service members have slowly but steadily integrated combat arms jobs. Women have been serving as leaders of Marine Corps platoons, Air Force Air Wings, combat vessels, howitzer section chiefs, and numerous Army units.
But despite five years of integration efforts, structural barriers remain. To dispel any cultural opposition, it is very crucial that civilian and military leadership stand by ongoing integration efforts. A combination of institutional preference for combat specialties and lower rates of promotion and retention for women have led to few female general officers.
However, the number of female leaders has climbed since 2000. The percentage of women in senior enlisted ranks has risen as well.
Concerns of young women considering military service differ from those of young men, and are well documented, yet the services have done little to directly influence or address these concerns, either through targeted recruitment outreach or structural policy change.
Generally, female propensity to serve is decreasing. Detailed reports show that women are discouraged by parents’ perception that the military treats women poorly.
Women also reported concerns of failure and physical fitness requirements. Also note that some efforts to attract women have included a diverse range of women on marketing materials and some ads focused on these influencers. The services have added gender inclusive language and worked to advertise expanded career opportunities.
Nonetheless, because polling shows women do not want to be pandered to; marketing tends not to be gender specific. Implicit and explicit bias continues to exist in the military, starting even before women joined.
Focus groups buttressed that women feel discouraged by society, family, and recruiters to join the military or enter certain job categories. Recurring sexual assault and harassment scandals—from Marines United to rising number of assault at the military academies—further undermine the military as an institution that supports women.
Pros of Women in Combat
The military’s decision to let women into active combat roles was made out of a couple of shifting cultural strategic paradigms evolving within inside the military. There is a general hope that this will close the gender gap in male to female participation in the military. Here are other benefits of women in combat.
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An Opportunity To Reach Their Dreams
The time has passed when women are left at home and men do all the hard work. Some of them have dreams of showing how patriotic they can be by serving their country, and the military provides them with a level playing field to prove their worth.
America, after all, is termed the land of the free and the home of the brave. And excluding women from military service would go against this belief.
Showcase Female Skills In Combat
The military and other government branches are just beginning to understand that being male does not make a soldier inherently superior. Therefore women who want to show they can be equally skilled in combat as men, would love being in the military service regardless of the physical and mental stress it entails.
Provides a Constant Influx Of Recruits
At a time when joining the military is no longer compulsory and it has been increasingly hard to get anyone to join, any woman who wants to get enlisted should be welcomed rather than turned way. Moreover, there is a certain benefit to keeping the military equipped with soldiers of both genders. A huge population of them would also mean that a country’s military force is always ready for anything.
Access To Education
Note that women who would not normally be able to afford school will be given the necessary resources to be educated when they join the military.
The GI Bill was to make sure that they will be given funds to pay for secondary education, while having a job at the same time. So not only are women able to go to school, but earn money as well. Military service also has plenty of benefits and rewards that women will find very useful and helpful.
Higher Chances Of Landing a Great Career
Even if you don’t want to renew your contract in the military or would prefer to find other type of employment instead, have it in mind that your chances of getting hired are very high. This is because being trained in the military supplies you with the characteristics and skills that are very attractive to employers.
Military service, after all, is about strict discipline. It also means you will be able to complete your assigned tasks in a timely manner.
You would not slack off and end up going late for work. You are primed for any type of work even the exhaustive kind. Suffice to say that you’re almost perfect as an employee. Adding military service to your list of work experience also makes your application quite attractive.
Disadvantages Are Being Addressed
Women who join the military are well aware that they should not get pregnant, as this can have an effect on their job. It also means women would be more focused on their combat roles. If other women in the workforce can hold off pregnancy plans, so can women in combat.
There is also a question of whether or not women should have the same professional approach on their job as men. If they didn’t, they would have been banned from the service for good. Aside the emotional outburst that can happen once in a while, women can be brave and courageous when the situation calls for it.
Cons of Women in Combat
There are a number of concerns that are being voiced by the opposition to this new policy including the role of the enemy when engaging female combatants. A few of the notable Cons of Women in Combat are laid out and summarized below.
Increased Risk Of Abuse
It is no longer a hidden fact that some women in the military were abused by their peers and within their own unit. Things could get even worse if they’re captured and then subjected to abuse by the enemies. Even though some women may be built to endure torture, but others could be ill-prepared for it.
Prisoners of war often go through a horrendous amount of physical abuse, but sexual abuse is often thrown in when women are captured by enemies.
Poor Physical Strength
Note that physical strength has always been one of the primary points that opponents like to emphasize when illustrating why women should be excluded from military service. It is a fact that a woman who weighs 110 pounds and stands 5 feet would be unable to carry the same amount of tasks that a man twice her size would be able to do.
Note that even outrunning a man of this size would take serious effort. It is also unwise to give women special treatment as rules in the military applies to everyone without discrimination. Doing so may also lead to dissension within a unit.
Lack Of Family Balance
Note that growing up without a father can have an effect on children, but things can get worse when they grow up without a mother. This makes a woman and mother in combat very difficult.
Women in service who get pregnant during their tour of duty would also have to leave their fellow soldiers behind. In any of the above situations, achieving a balance between family life and military service is not as easy for most women. Going back in service after giving birth would also have an effect on their performance.
Also note that some women may even have PTSD that is more severe than men, but nothing they can’t handle with the right support and treatment. Women, after all, can cope with depression and other emotions better than men.
We have to admit that women in military service are on riskier ground than men considering some of their weaknesses. Feminism aside, there are so many factors that have to be considered where women are concerned. But gender has nothing to do with the love of country and the desire to render selfless service.