Women in Military: Combat and their Changing Roles

women in military

The role of women in military is evolving. Well, at least the “official” policy seems to be changing for female soldiers in the United States.

I say “official” because the debate surrounding the decisions military administration revolve around women in combat. But the reality is that women have been actively involved in combat in just about every war in history, even if it was in an “unofficial” capacity. Heck, if Martha Washington can fight on the battlefield (she wasn’t just sewing stars on the flag!)…maybe a modern military woman can as well. No sewing needles needed!

So why all the concern about the role of women in military?

In this article:

  1. Why all the concern about the Role of Women in Military?
  2. Veterans Debate on Women in Combat Roles (video)
  3. Does a Combat Role for Women in Military Mean the End of War as We Know it?
  4. Female Soldiers in Afghanistan (video)

The objections range from a belief that what has been a traditional “boy’s club” on the front lines will be disrupted and distracted with the addition of boobs, to the concern that the weaker upper body strengthof women will not allow them to succeed on the front lines, to whether or not they will have the fortitude to pull the trigger when faced with a gun-​​wielding teenaged boy or girl from the enemy side.

Will their “softer” side prevent victory?

Not everyone thinks so. Some would argue that when provoked, even a mama bear will rip your head off…and let’s not even get started on the multitude of jokes about a woman, guns and PMS!

But seriously, aside from the physical aspects of the job, and the integration of the sexes on the battlefield, there are some compelling arguments around the benefits of women soldiers on the front lines…and legitimate concerns.

Modern military warfare is still grueling and requires mental and physical fitness that’s above normal if a soldier wants to succeed. This is true no matter if you’re male or female. And it’s why your nutritional foundation is so important.

However, there are also many upper level, leadership positions in the military that do not require day to day close combat or upper body strength. And, many of these leadership positions are not available to women because one of the requirements is that the applicant has combat experience.

Many women don’t.

So even though women comprise a growing number of positions in the military branches there is a sort of camouflage ceiling they cannot break through. They may have all other qualifications except for front-​​line experience.

And, that front line experience is crucial – you can’t deny that. There are just some things that you discover in the trenches that you cannot learn behind a desk or in a book.

It’s about experience. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but a front-​​line soldier will not quickly give respect to someone that’s barking out orders if they haven’t “been there-​​done that.” That respect hasn’t been earned yet. Yes, they will follow the orders through the chain of command, but they do it out of obligation and duty.

The leader without field experience, no matter how capable, will have a harder time leading without some mud and sand under their boots.

So does a combat role of women in the military mean the end of war as we know it?

Maybe…maybe not.

We’ll leave that up to the debaters and the proof. However, currently in the geographical areas where the military is engaged in struggle certainly calls for a different approach. Culture for the Middle East forbids women from interacting with men. In some cases, death could be the punishment.

And, anyone can tell you that most women (no matter what culture) know a Hell of a lot of stuff! All the who, what, why’s and where’s of crucial intel gathering. Some believe that bringing women in uniform to the villages where the fighting and conflict happen will allow more information to be exchanged, and more goodwill to be grown, than if there are male-​​only units.

This isn’t futuristic stuff – this is happening right now.

So while the debate continues among the law makers and muckity mucks about the role of women in military; women can just continue to do what they are doing now. And, for those that desire more action and better leadership positions, they can prepare now mentally and physically for the demands of those upcoming opportunities.

So, are women capable? Some are…some are not. Just like some men are better suited for certain assignments than others. As with any type of success, you have to prepare and put in the work so that when the opportunity comes up you’ll be ready.




For More Information on the Role of Women in Military throughout History, see this:

  • http://​osd​.dtic​.mil/​n​e​w​s​/​M​a​r​1​9​9​9​/​n​0​3​2​5​1​9​9​9​_​9​9​0​3​2​5​3​.​h​tml
  • http://​www​.army​.mil/​w​o​m​e​n​/​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​.​h​tml
  • http://​www​.army​.mil/​w​o​m​e​n​/​p​r​o​f​i​l​e​s​.​h​tml

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