Women in Combat Pros and Cons List
Women in the military is a subject that inspires much debate, no matter which side of the question you fall upon. There are many who still believe that women are the weaker sex and that allowing them to join the military is a “slippery slope”. On the other side of the coin, you have those who believe that women should have all of the same rights as men do, which includes joining the military and participating in live combat.
While a number of compelling arguments have been raised on each side, the time has come to take a more objective look at the matter. When there are valid points to be made no matter which side of the argument you are on, that is when debate becomes its most interesting. The following is a list of pros and cons when it comes to women in combat.
List of Pros of Women in Combat
1. Money For School
The military provides a wide range of women who would not normally be able to afford school with the money they need to pay for a secondary education. While people may disagree with the concept of women in combat, it is hard to disagree with the idea of having an influx of fresh faced workforce members. Employees are typically more apt to hire those with a military background.
This is because they know that those who have been trained by the military have the necessary temperament to handle the working world. Showing up on time and completing your assigned tasks in a timely manner is child’s play compared to waking up before the sun has even had a chance to rise and going through hour after hour of exhausting physical training. Plus, thanks to the GI Bill, many women are now able to get their education at the conclusion of their military service entirely free of charge.
2. Ability Is Not Exclusive To Gender
The military is just now learning what every other branch of the government has known for years: a male does not make an inherently superior soldier. It is true that there are women who are unable to handle the physical toll associated with military service, but there are also men who are equally unskilled at dealing with the physical and mental stresses of military life.
Male soldiers tend to be skeptical at first, but the military provides a level playing field for women to prove their worth to their fellow soldier. They should be given every opportunity to showcase their abilities or receive a discharge, much like their male counterparts. Women also provide a different point of view that could potentially come in handy during live combat.
3. Their Dreams Are The Same As Males
Gone are the days when being a solider was strictly considered to be a goal that only males should make the attempt to reach for. As hard as it may be for some to believe, there are women everywhere who grow up with the dream of picking up a firearm and defending their country’s freedom. If our country is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, denying a basic right such as this goes against those beliefs.
The number of women who are ready and willing to fight for their country is constantly on the rise. As more and more young women see their older counterparts readily accepted into formerly all male battalions and troops, their dreams start to become less of a fantasy and more like a feasible reality. We tell our children that they can do anything they set their minds to and breaking down this barrier is one of the final steps towards making that cliche phrase come true.
4. Readiness Of The Military
At a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to get anyone to join the military, the idea of turning away a willing influx of soldiers seems almost wasteful. By keeping the military equipped with a workforce of both genders, they are ensured to maintain ultimate readiness at all times. Recruitment rates are on a steady decline and allowing women into combat is an easy, inexpensive way to stem the tide.
When an overall applicant pool is widened, generally, a much deeper pool of talent starts to reveal itself. With the military stuck in a period of great uncertainty, unable to draw recruits like they used to or even keep the few who sign up from defecting, it is best to tap into all of your potential resources. Turning away willing soldiers does not look good for anyone.
List of Cons of Women in Combat
1. Lack Of Physical Strength
This is the most obvious point that detractors of women in combat point to when they wish to illustrate the senselessness of the entire enterprise. Yes, a woman who stands a mere 5’2″ and weighs all of 110 pounds will probably not be able to accomplish the same physical feats of strength as a man who is twice her size, this should go without saying.
But if the military were to bend and allow women to partake in activities that were less strenuous, this could lead to serious ill will from male soldiers, who already have a vocal faction that has spoken out against women in combat. Some women are built to take on the physical challenge of preparing themselves for combat, while others are simply ill prepared for the road ahead.
2. Greater Risk Of Abuse From Enemies
One of the most unfortunate drawbacks to enabling women to join live combat is the risk of enemy capture and subsequent abuse. A sad reality is that war forces us to come into contacts with enemies whose ideology is nothing close to our own. This means that women take on the added risk of being captured by enemies who do not have any sort of basic respect for their personal needs.
Men also experience abuse at the hands of enemy soldiers, but their potential injuries and mental scarring are small potatoes compared to what a woman may end being forced to suffer through. Physical abuse is essentially a given in any prisoner of war situation, whether the person is male and female. But when women are captured by enemies, they run a far greater risk of being abused sexually, an unwanted side effect of women in combat.
3. The Family Balance
Women who have been able to gain acceptance into the military and are subsequently depended upon in combat could end up leaving their fellow men and women behind if they develop a pregnancy during their tour of duty. It is extremely tough for a woman to participate in military activities and balance them with her family life. This is especially true of women who have already given birth to children before signing on.
Studies that were recently conducted showed that among women who already have families, more than half would prefer to take on part time work only. This statistic thins the herd further. When women decide that they want to leave the military, one of the most often cited reasons is that they wish to return to their homes and spend additional time with their families.
4. More Frequent Occurrence Of Sexual Harassment
No one likes to think about this aspect of women in combat, but when women are placed in an environment around a large group of men, where they are outnumbered and everyone’s physical and mental limits are being pushed to the utmost, this leads to a certain risk factor. When it comes to sexual harassment, women deal with far more of it in the military than their male counterparts are ever forced to handle.
The Department Of Veterans recently conducted a study into this serious and ongoing matter. They found that at least one out of every ten women who were a part of the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan had experienced some form of sexual abuse. Women are reticent to report these cases, for fear of retribution from a commanding officer. It can be quite challenging for a woman to feel fully safe in such a male dominated environment.