Women OK’ed for Combat
The ban that officially prohibits women from serving in combat has at last been lifted. How will this change affect the troops?
Some troops believe that if there are going to be women around, men will have to behave differently. They will have to be careful with what they say and how they act.
Others are confident that women can successfully hold the same roles as men in the military. Already, about 280,000 women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan – all of them extremely valuable.
Thanks to the lifting of this ban, about 250,000 jobs have opened up for women in the military. Many of them are in infantry positions, which women had no chance of even being considered for in the past.
Services have until January 2016 to come up with special exceptions for jobs they truly believe should be only for men. More importantly, they have until May 15 of this year to come up with the plans for integrating women.
Although combat positions will now be open to women, U.S. combat troops are a relatively small potion of the overall force. The Pentagon will be reviewing these positions before opening them to women. Most of these jobs will be in the Army and a smaller number in the Marines. The Navy and Air Force have even fewer combat positions available to women.
The biggest question that comes up is whether or not standards should be different for men and women. The Pentagon has stressed that there will be gender-neutral standards for combat positions. Women may find it difficult to fill a combat position that specifically requires upper-body strength.
Women will also have to carry heavy backpacks of about 70 pounds and, if necessary, carry a 200-pound male colleague should he be injured.
Even if the number of women in combat units is small, this policy change is a significant step in the advancement of women in service.
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