Women in the Military



1) Introduction
a) Although many believe women are capable of anything men can do, many question a woman’s position in direct combat.

2) Mentally and Emotionally Capable
a) Nurturing
b) Programmed differently than men
c) Able to handle post war problems when raising children

3) Distraction
a) Romantic relationships between members of the squad
b) Sexual encounters

4) Women and Their Existence in the Military
a) Rules and regulations
b) Physical Capabilities

5) Conclusion

Women Fighting in Combat
One of the common issues arising today is the debate on whether or not women should be fighting on the front line in the military. Many agree that women should undoubtedly be allowed to join the military but they tend to second guess whether or not women are capable of fighting on the front line. Not only do people argue the physical capabilities of women, but they argue if women are emotional capable. Also, many argue whether or not it is right for a mother to be taken away from her child in order to go fight in combat. Another big thing many consider when letting a woman on the front line is whether or not a coed squad is a good thing. When fighting in combat, situations because serious. Not only can they become harmful and deadly, but they can become these things in a flash. Studies “show that Americans strongly support a woman's participation in the military except when it comes to direct, ground, hand-to-hand combat” (Eserver). People have begun to argue whether women should be put in harm’s way rather than if they are capable. Although many believe women are capable of anything men can do, many question a woman’s position in direct combat.

Are women emotionally programmed to handle such traumatic experiences? When fighting on the front line one must be emotionally detached from most things going on. You have goals, and your emotions cannot get in your way of pursuing and completing these goals. Studies show that women are programmed to be more nurturing and emotionally involved then men are. Being on the front line, things can become emotional but one most not break upon such emotional pressure. Women are said to be more nurturing than men. When someone is injured in battle, one must remove the wounded from the field immediately then hurry back to assist their fellow squad members. Women, being more nurturing may run into the emotional attachment with their squad members and be more concerned than their fellow male squad member. In order to fight in such conditions, one must be mentally capable of handling such experiences. Are women mentally capable of performing such tasks without any emotional feeling? Being programmed differently, women would have some difficulty not putting their entire self into things. Studies show that “women in general feel more negative emotional consequences from physical aggression” (Brant). Studies also provide proof to the fact that post traumatic stress syndrome effects women more dramatically than it does men. Will women be able to mother children to the same extent as if they did not go through such traumatic experiences in a war? Although there are women that may be able to set aside these emotional problems, for many, it is very hard to completely set them aside.

Another big worry many people have regarding women fighting in combat is that of distractions. Being on the front line, one must be very concentrated. This is a serious situation in which distractions are not something that should happen. Many believe that having women in a direct combat squad alongside men can create a distraction. Research shows that “mixing the sexes leads to romantic involvements, sexual harassment, pregnancies, male protectiveness -- all dangerous distractions on the front line” (CBN). Romantic involvement between squad members can create issues. The men often become more protective over their significant other. These involvements can also create issues when the involvements are broken off. The ending of a relationship can create hostility among the two, and among the rest of the squad. Sexual encounters can become distracting because you are therefore not focused on the goal at hand. Many are worried that either sexual tension or the male instinct to protect females would undermine a unit's ability to pull together and fight effectively (CBN). Soldiers in the military are trained to with organization. Many fear that good order and discipline could be undermined by problems such as sexual harassment and these inappropriate romantic relationships. Although many argue that women will actually be a distraction, being in such close quarters for long periods of time can make some issues arise. When on the front line, distractions are not good. Distractions from the squad’s goal can be deadly. Focus and determination are extremely important to accomplish goals. Distractions can be very costly, and do not belong in direct combat.

When discussing battle, what comes to mind? When most people think of soldiers, they think of strength. After all, we are discussing life and death. Women are fully capable of being just as strong, but studies show, most women have only half the upper body strength as men do. They say “when a woman is correctly trained, she can be as tough as any man“ (Deocales). “The military has different training standards for men and women. Marines are trained to evacuate wounded soldiers on their back, with up to 80 pounds of gear. Could a woman with half the upper body strength as a man be called upon to do the same?” (CBN). The discussion of regulations is very common when discussing women fighting in combat. The military have different regulations for men than women. Fighting on the front line is one of the more important jobs because it involves life death. Should there really be different rules and regulations to determine who should do this job based on gender? If we are really concerned about gender discrimination, then rules and regulations would be the same for both genders. In order for a woman to fight on the front line, they should be able to meet the same requirements a man must meet. If that woman is fully capable of carrying 80 pounds of gear and the dead weight of a wounded grown man on her back, then she should be able to be considered physically capable. When it comes to life and death, regulations and rules should remain the same, despite ones sex.

Although many women are already involved in the military and some even in combat, many argue if they should continue being in such positions. Physical, mental, and emotional capabilities are continually pointed out in all discussions regarding a woman’s place in battle. Although some women have proved these debates otherwise, the majority of people still have doubts. Physical capabilities are very important when in the military, especially on the front line due to the immense amount of direct contact. When involved in such traumatic occurrences, emotional feelings cannot get in my way. Women, being more emotional tend to get more involved and put their entire selves into different situations. Getting involved in romantic relationships can also bring about emotional feelings that can interfere with the goal of the squads. It is not the time or place to have emotional issues on the front line. Overall, the majority of the population does not believe women should fight alongside men in combat. Distractions can come from coed squads, which is not favorable in combat. Most believe women should be able to join the military but would rather not see them put in harm’s way. The consensus of the population is not that women are not fully capable, but that overall, it is not a woman’s place to fight on the front line in the military.


· Brant, Martha. “The Case Against Women in Combat.” Newsweek. 24 October 2007 <http://www.newsweek.com/id/61568>.

· Charbonneau, Melissa. ‘The Reality of Women in Combat.” CBN. <http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/news/050223a.aspx>.

· Deocales, Theresa. “Women in Combat: Women Join the Men in the Fight for Freedom” NewsHour Extra. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/speakout/editorial/women_military.html>.

· Feminism and Women’s Studies. Eserver. 2009 <http://feminism.eserver.org/workplace/professions/women-in-the-military.txt>.

· Norris, Michele. “Two Opposing Views on Women on the Battlefield.” NPR. 3 October 2007 <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14960494>.

· Tyson, Ann Scott. “For Female GIs, Combat Is a Fact.” The Washington Post. 13 May 2005 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/12/AR2005051202002.html>.

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