Since the beginning of history many people that have served in combat have been male. Women have constantly been absent. Some women have served in combat but disguising themselves as men since their positions in the military was not recognized. Some of the women are Queen Boudica who was leading the Britons against the Rome. Many countries have accepted the women role in the military though the percentage still remains very low. The United States of America gave women a permanent military status in1948. Norway became the first country in the world to serve in her submarines. Many of the roles that women are given in military are supportive roles like clerical works, mechanical woks and photo analysis (Heather, 2011). Women also have blatantly refused to take military places like their male counterparts. Many of them consider the work too hard and challenging and as such give up easily. Even in training, the enrolment is low and the few that are enrolled give up before they can graduate to full combat and assigned roles in the military.
Women and men are different physiologically with women being the more delicate gender. A deeply analysis of the men and women reveals that men are more suitable to take some roles than their female counterparts. A report by the US army says that women suffered more injuries than the men when placed in the roles in the military. According to Gilbert (1992), the recruitment process, the men and women are not put under the same tests, for instance, the US Army requires a minimum of 35 push-ups for males and only 13 push-ups for the females and even in so doing, men still outdo most women in the timing of the completion of the push-ups. Even in the runs, men still do much better than women. The difference is in their physiological abilities. A former US Marine officer, Chad Russell, in an interview said that the best women in the infantry test, done by the Marines for their fitness, were equal or below in most cases to the lowest 5 percent of men as a group in the test study. Men are fit to do energy-intensive jobs and exercises than the women.
Military missions are assigned officers depending on their complexity. Surprisingly, many countries assign the more complex missions to their male officers and even in the less complex ones the inclusion of female officers is still wanting. Many dangerous operations like rescue mission are given to the men in the military. Many concerns are raised concerning their ability and strength. In military missions soldiers are injured and they depend on their fellow soldiers to help them at least get to a safer place. It would be very difficult for a female soldier to carry a male soldier to safety (Gilbert, 1992).
The other issue is that of acceptance. Most military officers do not want the inclusion of women in their units. Most male officers are ready to work alongside officers of the same gender. The reason is that they feel more comfortable working with people of equal strength or even higher and the women do not offer that since the physiology of a woman is weaker than that of the men (Gilbert, 1992). Sexual assaults (true or false) have been cited by the women and the men as a reason for not working together. Many women have complained of their male colleagues assaulting them sexually and in other ways. They give that a reason why they cannot work together. On the other hand, male officers have accused women of false claims saying they blackmail them and coerce them to do things unwillingly even in their missions.
When they dont give in, the women officers accuse them of sexual assaults. It is important for all officers in a common mission to work together for its ultimate success. This cannot be done when there is a compromise of possible assaults and blackmails within the unit assigned the military operation (Fiona, 2007). Another reason why women are unsuited to be in combat is that they get pregnant. It is an obvious fact that women cannot engage in military operations when pregnant. When the female officer is pregnant or is on her maternity leave, the absence affects not only the unit she was serving in but also the whole military operations. Should a war break out during such a time, she would not take up a gun and defend her country. Men, even on annual leaves and other reasons that make them absent from the army can be recalled within a short time notice and report for duty and still perform in the same capacity and tact as if he was on normal duty.(Deuster, Patricia &Tepe,2016)
Most women in the military today are not there because they wanted or desired to be in the military. Situations have forced women to take up combat roles since in most countries the entry requirements are comparatively lower than other careers. Unlike most men who have many models they would love to emulate many women do not have models in the military and therefore many of them are there for lack of other simpler jobs to do. Their productivity is therefore, greatly affected since it is not in them to be in combat but situations simply dictate so. It is interesting to note that even the women in combat would not like others to join the military.
Any job done without a passion or a love for it will be less effective than one done out of passion. According to American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2009, women have more body fat than men and as such have less endurance when put under harsh conditions. The journal also says that men have more circulating testosterone which makes them more energetic than women. It is common knowledge that the military is usually deployed in very hard areas either to restore peace or defend their nations from attacks. The prolonged periods that the army stays in such areas greatly undermines the efficiency of a woman soldier and therefore there are lower chances of success if the number of women soldiers sent on such a mission is high. For a long time, women have not been in leadership roles. A woman soldier that rises to leadership or high ranks even in the army may take that chance to settle scores especially if the soldiers working under her are men. When the focus of leadership is shifted from achieving the goals of the mission to other agendas, the military operation is bound to fail.
In conclusion, women are a great asset of any country and their place in the society should be recognized. But different missions require different tools for the job and not all tools are interchangeable. As such, due to reasons discussed ranging from physical to biological, countries should consider what is best for them and take appropriate action. A nations security and stability should not be a subject of gender equality but an issue that can affect the very life of the women that nations are rushing to give equal opportunities especially in the military combat.
Deuster, Patricia A, PhD., & Tepe, V., PhD.(2016).Why a women in combat symposium? Military Medicine, 181(1), 1-3
Fiona, R.(2007). Women and war. New York. Thomson Lerning Publishers.
Gilbert, M.H(1992).Women in combat: Who should make the policy. Minerva, X(2), 1
Heather, M.S.(2011).Beyond Combat:Women and Gender in Vietnam War Era. New York. Cambridge University Press.
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