“The more we treat service members equally, the more likely they are to treat each other with respect.”
The most common arguments among those who oppose women in combat:
- Women soldiers will be raped.
- The average American female cannot meet the current infantry requirements.
Argument #1: Women soldiers will be raped.
Unfortunately, this is already happening in all branches of the military (it’s also happening to more male service members than female service members). Integrating women into combat units may very well result in additional sexual assaults and harassment, the expected backlash of a significant cultural shift in a male-centered organization. But as the good ol’ boys are cycled out, and new recruits join a military where women are already commonplace in combat arms units, the level of respect for the women serving at their side will match the respect they feel for their brothers in arms. Women will no longer be seen as the second class citizens as they are viewed now. Their service and sacrifice will be recognized as equal, and their contributions will be valued, rather than seen as a “politically correct liberal experiment”.
Read this excellent article that delves into the common misconceptions about Military Sexual Assault (MST): http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/04/seven-misconceptions-about-military-sexual-assault.html
Rapes occur on college campuses too. Should we ban women from obtaining an education at co-ed universities? Or should we address the root cause of sexual assaults in both the military and in the greater population: A lack of respect and recognition as humans of equal value and standing.
Argument #2 The average American female cannot meet the current infantry requirements.
Guess what? Neither can the average American male. Standards will be established, and those standards will preclude the vast majority of people who apply. If women can meet the standards, there is no viable reason to exclude them from combat positions.
I am 5’8″, already taller than the average male height (global), and an inch shy of the average here in the US. I consistently scored 70-80% on the Male standards for physical fitness during my enlistment. My physical conditioning at that time likely exceeded that of a huge chunk of the male civilian population and probably a large number of male service members. I carried a pack, M-249, 600 rounds of ammunition, and full body armor.
I wasn’t even close to being the most physically fit female in my battalion either.
I’m not anticipating a huge flood of women will sign up for combat MOSs, but those that do should be given the same opportunity to succeed or fail as their male counterparts. “Women don’t belong in the Infantry” just isn’t cutting it anymore.