In the United States, female citizens have strived for a long time for their basic rights in every field but the most important question relevant to their rights that should be answered is and which the nation has faced in the past, present and future is the argument whether to allow women the privilege to defend our motherland and share along with men of the forces emotions, feelings and true sentiments such as dignity, honor and prestige which are true reflections of this service.
Many people argue that there are some factors which just can not be ignored because of which it is imperative to draw a line when involving, selecting female citizens for the military.
Military Selection Problems and Fears
The major objection to the proposed integration comes from military officers and enlisted men whose primary fear is that, that because of women in the forces, it will mare the effectiveness of the military and consequently destrengthens our military forces and the environment as a whole.
They believe that a female is simply incapable to face and meet the requirements of a military environment which take a toll of both mental and physical strains. Another fear that arises when selecting a woman for the armed forces is whether her physical attributes are of such nature that a sexual misconduct is on the cards within the vicinity of young men around for a long period of time. Also, the heavy and indefinite expenses of maintaining women on combat vessels, and the risks and repercussions of pregnancy.
Previous analytical studies show that women physically possess lesser strength than men. There stature is small and can not perform as much on the combative situations which demand stronger skeletons and upper bodies which men enjoy. This is a major question when selecting a woman whether she has the body as well as the mental capacity to sustain the tough demands of the military and from that aspect they have a big negative on their side. Officers are reluctant to select ordinary/average women because they have the understandable fear that this average woman will fail to deliver the services required of her in the military service.
Similarly, most women are simply ignored for the job of aviation flights. "Aviators on combat missions must maintain situational awareness on all sides while coping with repeated exposure to high G. force; i.e., up to 9Gs in the Air Force, 7.5Gs in Navy aircraft." (Congress 1, 77). Although, it is not known for sure whether or not a woman can sustain such a severe stress for a long time, but it is believed that very few women are strong enough to survive this magnitude of force.
Besides all that, the following myths have also marred the selection process of women in the military:
Myths and Apprehensions
Woman's sexuality is a problem because she will use its to obtain special treatment or to avoid hard duty.
This country just can not support the provision for women in military because relatives can not endure their beloved daughters, wives and mothers come home in body bags.
The probability of a woman surviving as a POW is much less than a man.
Apprehensions are that she might be raped, tortured and tormented by the enemy.
That time of the month is a problem for the fighting group, as it is only as strong as its weakest link. It is unthinkable to have a woman soldier who's doubled over with cramps in a team.
Fear of scandals of the nature of sexual harassment, coercion and sexism. Scandals such as Tailhook and of that kind mare the integrity of military and are synonymous to abasing the country.
The Myth that men have a fair reason to fear women in the military because a woman can complain anytime for being sexually harassed by the members of other gender and so males feel reluctant to developing a congenial, cooperative and a strong bonding relationship with females and they have to be careful with them.
Fraternization issues and problems have to be dealt with because of women.
So if they weren't involved in the military then the males would never had to worry about the fraternization crap.
Women's standards are maintained at a much lower point than the men. For example, a semi-annual physical test for fitness is conducted in Navy where women have the easy way out, required to do perform a fraction of the situps, pushups and run time what the men do to get the same 'Outstanding; so it is unfair on men when the women are termed just as qualified as them.
Most military women don't want to be in the service, it is just because of the constant encouragement and the pushing in combat that they get by some extremists and politicians.
Women's Placement Problems
Unlike men, women face difficulty for a long time in coming to terms to the conditions and situation of their new placement. Men have an engrained attitude of sustaining and adapting to new situations and new places where they are stationed, unlike women. Every place has its own demands and requirements which can become extremely difficult for a woman to become adapt to.
If a U.S. military woman is stationed in a place like Panama, where she must learn a new language and can not wear uniform off-base plus. What if a government changes and she has to tolerate gradual changes and may have to live and work in tough surroundings such as a jungle. Sometimes, women have to face discrimination and are debarred from activities which men are involved in.
When women are stationed at new places, they sometimes have to face prejudice in various situations and surrounding masses may not be that friendly and hostility prevails in very dangerous fashion from the citizens of that area having different ethnic, caste, color & linguistic background. In such an environment, any small thing can play fuel to the fire and may have ominous effects and consequences for the females in the military posted there.
Isolation is another factor which females may have to face from time to time in the stationed place, for example if the ratio of women to men is very less, it is seen that although some women might be able to cope up with the isolation factor but it doesn't necessarily mean that the whole lot of them can endure the same.
Military Acceptation: Women should be included
Although, we have seen a lot of problems in the above paragraphs with the involvement of women in the military. But the attitude in the modern era is progressive and friendly both from the government and the forces towards their selection and placement in different areas. Authorities are now willing to make women integral part of our motherland's defense services.
This change is due to the pressure of embarkment of all-volunteer force because of which many women joined forces and subsequently it meant that more units and career fields are required be made open to females. In the years between 1992 and 1994, changes in legislation were made to so that females can enjoy more opportunities.
Results of Changes
The effects of these changes were unprecedented and a survey showed that more than eighty percent of the vacancies were open for women in between 1993 and 1997 and the trend is more towards neutralization of gender and the gap that was created before has been filled in all sorts of DoD positions.
Effects on Units
Different tools and methods like interviews, surveys and focus groups have been used to analyze the ungendering effect on units; the study revealed that gender integration didn't have a much impact on readiness of the troops, cohesion and morale of the forces.Other influences such as leadership, are seen by the masses as being far more inflicting authority and control over them.
Equal Opportunity in the Military
In the modern and present times the armed forces' leaders are truly committed towards gender integration and equal provision for the female citizens. Although much desires to be done on this issue but the start is promising and gradual progress can be seen which is heartening.
The selection procedures have been such that the military services emphasize diversity in their promotion procedures. The Army, for example, has made a policy that promotion rates for both the genders be at least equal promotion rates for the overall eligible masses.
Since the women promotion rates often reduce significantly from the required figures as the policy suggests, so the army ensures this situation doest not take place by carefully giving instructions to the promotion board members so that the process does not pressurize them to utilize quotas.
Opportunity figures in the military
The present military scenario is the best that has ever taken place in terms of employment opportunities for women. In percentage figures, women are eligible for the following services involving many jobs.