Whether women should be in combat or not isn’t a question to be asked in this day and age. Sure, clearly we still have work to do as a society in ensuring equality for all, but the idea of women serving in the battlefield shouldn’t be scoffed at. Why do some people agree that women should serve in combat while others don’t? Here’s a look at the pros and cons:
List of Pros of Women in Combat
1. It increases the number of people who could join the military.
Sure there are women who now serve in the military but how many of them actually engage in combat? In December 2015, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all combat jobs would be open to women starting 2016. According to Carter, “Our force of the future must continue to benefit from the best people America has to offer. In the 21st century, that includes drawing strength from the broadest possible pool of talent.”
2. It provides women the opportunity to fight for their country.
Yes, women are serving in the military and yes they are fighting for their country. However, some women do want to be in the battlefield and they haven’t been given that opportunity yet, until now. Today, women can participate in combat jobs including infantry, artillery, tanks and other front-line roles.
Women have been involved in indirect combat jobs since 1993 and these included flying combat aircraft and serving on Navy fighting ships. However, they haven’t been able to get front-line roles but all that changed in 2013 when the Obama administration gave the military three years to study the role of women in combat and to provide reasons female service members should still be prevented from taking jobs in infantry, artillery and other roles involving direct combat.
3. It shows that we are moving forward as a society.
Preventing a woman from doing something “because she is a woman” is an argument that shouldn’t hold much sway these days. Yes, there are still many who prefer the traditional ways but we must be more accepting of the fact that some women can do jobs – and do them well – in industries dominated by men. Allowing women to serve means offering equal opportunity for all.
List of Cons of Women in Combat
1. It slows down a unit.
Carter believes that the inclusion of women would not limit combat effectiveness. After all, both physical and performance standards would not be changed for women. According to Carter, “Women will be subject to the same standards and rules that men will.” However, a study released by the Marine Corps (the service that was totally against integration) showed that mixed-gender units performed slower in combat compared to all-male units. Some analysts have rejected those conclusions and even Carter said the study was “not definitive.”
2. It raises different psychological concerns.
One of the issues raised is the development of romantic relationships between men and women could disrupt the fighting capability of a unit. There is also fear that some women would get pregnant deliberately so they could avoid combat duties. Another growing concern is the risk of torture and sexual assault when a woman is captured.
3. It brings up tactical concerns.
Some men have a protective instinct to help a female in need which leads to a decrease in the combat unit’s effectiveness. There are concerns that men would want to prioritize saving women rather than completing the mission.