Women Serving in the Infantry Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Female Soldiers in the Contemporary Society


Effectiveness of having women soldiers

Impediments preventing female soldiers from being considered equal

Typical solutions

Education as the solution

There is much controversy regarding the presence of women in the military, in spite of the fact that the contemporary society has reached a particularly advanced level of civilization. Although women tended to be discriminated when being involved in military corps over the years, some situations required their presence and thus made it mandatory for men to accept them. The military in general acknowledged the important role that women can play in the army but there is still a lot to do in order for them to actually be appreciated for their abilities. Education is the key to better integrating women in the military and in order for army corps to be as effective as possible individuals who are part of them have to realize the importance of treating each-other as equals.

II. Proposal

f. Introduction

This proposal is meant to address the issue of female presence in the military in an attempt to provide solutions to women soldiers being discriminated today. The reality is that the Ministry of Defense and society as a whole have to employ progressive attitudes with regard to the role women can play in militaries. The U.S. needs to get actively involved in training and employing women with the purpose of dealing with the situation in the Middle East.

g. Background

Women have played an important role in conflicts throughout the twentieth century. However, it was not until recent years that militaries acknowledged the fact that they could be especially important in particular situations in the Middle East. Afghan cultural norms promote the idea that it is wrong for male soldiers to address Afghan women and a series of issues emerged as a result of militaries having problems understanding the position they needed to take. The fact that female soldiers can interfere when it is important for the military to interact with Afghan women meant that it is essential for the rest of the military and society as a whole to remove the restrictions typically placed on women in the military.

While the military experienced great progress during recent years, people continue to express hesitation with regard to accepting women as an active part of the military. "Having crossed the threshold of the twenty-first century, the well-documented problems of sexual assault and harassment at the military service academies and in our current theatres of war demonstrate continued resistance to the presence of women as the feminine." (Attitudes Aren't Free: Thinking Deeply About Diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces, 2010, p. 367)

c. Solution

Education is the key to changing the way that individuals in the military perceive women soldiers. The fact that (although being trained in a similar fashion to their male counterparts) women soldiers are typically provided with missions that have little to nothing to do with special operations, battle tanks, and infantry influence men in the military to refrain from accepting female soldiers as their equals. This brings out the idea of instruction as one of the most effective methods of having soldiers in general accept the fact that women are an indispensable factor in the military. Education is not only meant to convince men to accept their female counterparts in the military, as it is also intended to have women soldiers better acquainted with the purpose of their missions and with the ability to realize that they need to focus on doing everything in their power in order to prove that they belong in the military.

d. Implementation

The present training program addressing female soldiers needs to expand in order to entail male soldiers. By having both genders provided with information concerning why it is essential for them to collaborate, the military can more easily deal with discrimination-related issues. Training programs do not necessarily have to involve the military as a whole, as they can initially focus primarily on individuals who are going to be working together with women. This is likely to make them feel less hesitant about accepting female soldiers. Costs associated with the program will mainly involve having to re-structure the system in order for curricula typically provided to soldiers to expand and focus on providing information enabling individuals to acknowledge the importance of abandoning gender prejudice.

e. Conclusion

There is much to be done in order to change the way that people in the military think with regard to gender roles. However, this is not impossible and it is essential for society as a whole to change its perspective toward women in the military. Education stands as a principal tool in achieving progress and by providing people with the ability to see the bigger picture, the Ministry of Defense is likely to experience fewer problems in areas where women soldiers are necessary.

III. Effectiveness of having women soldiers

While the army has had a series of military groups containing women, it was not until recent years that it became obvious that female soldiers are indispensable. The conflict in the Middle East enabled the authorities to realize that it was important for Female Engagement Teams to operate in Afghanistan and in countries where male soldiers were generally reprimanded as a result of interacting with local women. U.S. female soldiers have the ability to approach Afghan women and determine whether or not they represent a threat. "If these searches were performed by male soldiers, antipathy to occupying U.S. forces would be considerably greater, making success much more elusive." (Benatar, 2012, P. 108)

U.S. Army soldiers were deployed in Italy during the 70s and 80s as a result of a series of reports involving terrorist acts. The case of Private Mark Barber, a person who was reputed for his failure to complete several basic tasks, is especially intriguing when considering the presence of U.S. troops on Italian soil during the period. In spite of being physically unfit to take on activities typically assigned to soldiers, Barber was admitted into the military and was "often seen on guard duty dragging his weapon behind him because he tired from carrying it." (Zeigler & Gunderson, 2005, p. 41) One night Barber accidentally discharged his M16 as a result of playing with it. Thinking that it was best for him to cover up the accident, he told his superiors that he was under attack and this lead to the whole installation being put on alert. It eventually became clear that he was fabricating facts and that he was actually responsible for the incident.

An incident in May 2009 involved an Afghan enemy escaping U.S. male troops as a result of being dressed as a woman. Soldiers were unable to realize the concealing outfit because they knew that it was forbidden for them to interact with local women. "As a result, the Marine Corps expanded the use of the Female Engagement Team concept, developing an actual program and implementing a training plan." (Pickup, 2010, p. 19) This May 2009 event and similar experiences made it possible for the military to focus on restructuring its agenda in order for it to incorporate the idea of female soldiers as an essential part of the army corps present in Afghanistan.

When considering cases like the one involving Barber, it appears that it would be wrong for the army to deny female soldiers the right to take on specific military activities. The May 2009 incident further contributes to this type of thinking, as in some cases women are indispensable and are likely to be much more efficient than their male counterparts. The reality is that in some cases "men who are neither brave nor effective are called upon to perform combat roles; women -- no matter how brave, courageous, intelligent, willing, or effective -- are denied the possibility of serving their country in this manner." (Zeigler & Gunderson, 2005, p. 42)

IV. Impediments preventing female soldiers from being considered equal

Although the military has shown a more and more positive attitude toward women during recent years, conditions are still fragile when considering this aspect. The Combat Exclusion Policy currently in place has a particularly negative effect on the image of women in the military. Even with the fact that the army appears to have employed a less discriminatory attitude toward women during recent years, female soldiers are still considered unfit to occupy numerous positions on account of their gender. Many female members of the military believe that the Combat Exclusion Policy is based on several outdated stereotypes concerning women and that it would thus be wrong for the army to continue to promote these respective stereotypes by accepting the policy.

V. Solutions

Even with the fact that they are assigned to non-combat posts, female soldiers often find themselves in situations when there is no alternative but to open fire. Many women in the military believe that the best method of opening society's eyes with regard to the role they play in the military would…

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