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Women Now Officially Allowed Combat-Related Jobs in the Army

Women Now Officially Allowed Combat-Related Jobs in the Army

This week marked the beginning of a new policy in the United States Army. Women are now allowed to hold positions related to direct combat in war zones, positions that they were expressly barred from holding in previous years and opening up thousands of new positions to them. According to the Associated Press, nine brigades are testing the new policy before expanding the job openings to women throughout the army.

It seems that part of the logic behind the policy shift lies in the realization that women have already been dying in combat in recent wars, doing jobs that were already dangerous without any kind of official recognition. This new policy, which allows women to hold positions such as field surgeons, intelligence sergeants and tank mechanics, now gives women the official recognition for their sacrifices in recent wars.

As a bill presented to the Senate and House of Representatives a year ago hoping to overturn gender inequalities in the military states, “As of April 1, 2011, 137 female members of the Armed Forces have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, and, of the women killed, over 60 were killed in combat.” The numbers reflect that women are just as likely to be placed at the center of danger as men in modern war zones. This reticence on the part of military and political personnel to recognize the work of female soldiers feeds into a stereotype of female physical weakness.

As Kelly Hasselman, a unit commander in the Army, told Al Jazeera, “there are no front lines anymore,” which means that both men and women face the same danger in any war zone, no matter what their job title states. Women also receive the same difficult training but face gender discrimination in terms of promotions and respect from subordinates in the Armed Forces.

The Pentagon has still not overturned “The Ground Combat Exclusion Policy” which directly stops women from entering into official positions of direct combat in war zones, according to the Global Post. This policy has affected women’s ability to get promotions or be deployed on equal terms with their male counterparts. And while it remains a positive step in the right direction to open up job opportunities on an equal footing with male counterparts, the testing of this new policy in only nine brigades obscures the continued exclusion of women from a multitude of other jobs within the Armed Forces based on gender.

As combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to bring about new deployments, women face the same discriminations even when they are now able to hold new jobs that were closed to them before. Their careers in the Armed Forces remain stunted based on official policies that discriminate against female bodies as an inferior and less-capable vessel in the context of war.

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Photo Credit: The U.S. Army

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21 comments

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4:42PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

finally. this is certainly a step in the right direction. a small, but a good one. maybe this country will improve some

12:28PM PDT on May 29, 2012

Thanks.

1:57PM PDT on May 19, 2012

Joy P., trans people aren't allowed to serve in the US armed forces. Being transgender is considered a medical condition that makes someone unable to serve. Those who manage to be enlisted in the armed forces despite being transgender who come out or are outed are ultimately dishonorably discharged (and worse). And lifting DADT and allowing women in combat doesn't specifically help trans people in the least. You are an idiot.

2:44AM PDT on May 19, 2012

It's about damned time. Ironically, a transwoman can fight in combat, but a cis woman can't. Stupid if you ask me. If you want to fight, you should be able to fight.

8:21PM PDT on May 17, 2012

so difficult for me to understand the zest to join in combat, to kill another human being, someone's father, son, a person who will never see another sunrise or hear a sound other than his skull being blown apart.
We have long range artillery that will blow to bits whoever/whatever human "collateral" that is in the way. How can someone check out the result of their aim, see chunks of flesh and bone that once was human and feel "proud" about it? War is crazy. No wonder so many men in service commit suicide. Now it will be women's turn to numb out.

5:37PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Does that mean that now they will also have to go through the same training as the men? Somehow I doubt it!

2:38PM PDT on May 17, 2012

I'm against all armies, they are pathetic and extremely overrated. All soldiers are sick, romantic fascists, who for a hearty handshake of their captain would gladly blow the head off their own mothers.
If a woman is so brainwashed as to enroll, let her by all means blow the head off her own mother.

1:21PM PDT on May 17, 2012

If women want to go into combat for a legitimate reason that is fine, but how about we quit over-glorifying troops and get us out of these stupid rediculous unnecessary illegal wars for oil? How about Obusha get off his hiney and bring the troops home.

12:28PM PDT on May 17, 2012

So now it is really official...

11:48AM PDT on May 17, 2012

Wow... Here in Canada, women have been in combat units since the late 1980's... Then again LGBT people have been welcome in ours since 1992.

Then again, we got gay marriage in 2004.

So in another 10 to 20 years or so, the US MIGHT catch up to us on that too huh?

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