Women in Combat Positions

Submit a 1500 words paper on the topic Women in combat positions: Women should be respected as women, not because they can emulate being a man. Support positions such as logistics, medical, intelligence, and administrative are also not allowed to be filled by women when in combat sectored zones. Although women are unofficially fulfilling these positions on a regular basis in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are not allowed to be assigned positions that “regularly collocate with ground combat units” (McSally, 2011). Through being banned from these types of positions, women are impeded on progress through their military careers, unable to gain rank through experience in combat situations and therefore unable to be given promotions due to inexperience in these levels of military duty. According to Fenner and DeYoung (2001), “Most of the jobs that remain closed to women are in specialties that the Services consider likely to engage enemy forces in direct combat (or that serve in close proximity to those that do) and those in which members run a higher risk of capture” (p. 3). There are a great number of reasons why this policy remains in effect. The first reason given by Fenner and DeYoung (2001) is that there is a resistance by men to the idea of women in combat. Military men feel their own combat capabilities will be compromised if women are allowed to participate in ground missions. The public is uncomfortable with the consequences of women being captured in combat situations. As well, the dynamic of combat, capture, and imprisonment changes when women are brought into the equation. The second argument presented by Fenner and DeYoung is associated to the first in that these social issues that arise with women in combat have and will affect military readiness when faced with an action that needs a military response. The roles become clouded and too much effort is taken away from other problems in focusing on who and how roles should be fulfilled. The first argument that is proposed suggests that women present a change in the dynamic of combat. This change affects the way in which men face the enemy and the way in which the enemy response is interpreted. The International Debate Education Association (2009) reports that only about 200 women per year can meet the physical requirements that are defined for men, thus integrating that few women into the combat zones, allowing for gender differences and the accommodations that must be made for having women in the combat zones is not justified. In addition, the added pressure on men to both watch each other in a fraternal culture complicated by the social imperative to take care of women through a still active sense of chivalry would further impede the focus needed to engage in successful combat. Placing women in combat areas puts an unneeded pressure on men already in a complex and difficult position. The second aspect of that first argument is that women are more vulnerable in situations where capture is a possibility than are men. The capture of women in combat situations puts added pressure on the men who are captured with them as they are considered to be more vulnerable to torture and the elements of capture than are men. Whether or not women are more vulnerable than men is immaterial, but the perception of women being more vulnerable is enough to be a serious distraction to men who are in a precarious and difficult situation (Fenner and DeYoung 2001). The threat put to a woman is more difficult to endure for men in this situation than is that put on men when witnessing one of their brothers being put to the test.

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