Thursday, 24 January 2013

NEWS: US ends ban on women being in front-line combat

 I thought women were already serving in the front line in Afghanistan.........must be my mistake!
According to the BBC, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has decided to lift the military's ban on women serving in combat. The US Army will still have until 2016 to argue for certain posts to remain unattainable for women.

Full article is here:

Lieutenant Colleen Farrell stands in formation during a ceremony for the 235th birthday of the Marines on 10 November 2010
I am not an army expert (thank god!), but I assume there must be jobs that some women may not be able to carry out - such as jobs that require good body strength. However, when I think of that I picture skinny women like me trying to lift bazookas on their shoulders, when I believe that most women who join the army are much MUCH stronger than me.
Also, there are some pretty scrawny men in the world! Should there be (or are there already) jobs in the army that scrawny men won't be allowed to do?
Or maybe the US Army are trying to protect our delicate feminine emotional states...
Any ideas of what some 'men only' jobs in the army would be?? Any suggestions?? I'm intrigued!


  1. Yes, maybe it should be about physical fitness and strength rather than gender. However I find this development somewhat sad just because Id rather see less people wanting to join the army rather than the other way round...

  2. You need to have a certain level of strength and stamina to be in the army, and I think that there are certainly a lot of women who would qualify - like you say, there are plenty of weedy men and strong women!

    Ultimately, the only physical difference would be menstruation. The question is, is that a problem? I would imagine that in some prolonged frontline situations that might be an issue, but then it is entirely possible to take pills or injections to stop it, should one wish to. I think that the army should look at specific scenarios as dispassionately as possible and decide whether this might have any impact at all. I'd like to think it wouldn't, but I have no real knowledge to back up that feeling.

    I think in the past it has been argued that women could be subjected to various forms of sexual torture should they be captured, but really, I don't see that that's much different from men. If people are prepared to torture, they'll do it to men or women.

  3. I spent a bit of time deployed as a civilian with the Army, so this comes from that experience. Women were banned from having any "front-line" positions, so Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery. They were allowed in Combat Aviation, because I guess the skies don't count as front lines. Basically, they could do anything that did involve going out on patrols or fighting in the trenches. Even for men, these units are still relatively elite and require higher fitness standards and often going to special schools (like Ranger school) that are pretty grueling, so they'd weed out less physically and mentally capable men already.

    But, like the article the woman posted on your FB said, a lot of women were "attachments" that would go out with patrols in Afghanistan and Iraq and we had to be able to carry around all the same weapons and body armor while climbing mountains as the guys. And our Military Police platoon DID do a lot of patrolling and they were about half women, so that really just showed how moot it all is.

    Haha, like the whole gay-in-the-military issue and even racial issues in the past, I think it's less about the Army (and politicians) trying to protect our delicate femininity as protecting their own tidy, identical little corner of their world. I figure, like multi-racial and gay moments before, this will have people grumbling and screaming right until it goes into effect and everyone realizes that nothing changed for the worse and just maybe got a little better.


  4. Great comments guys!! And very interesting to read suggestions on why women might be stopped doing certain jobs.

    I was chatting to Chris (my boyfriend) about this subject yesterday, and we were wondering if army authorities may be worried that if they put women in the frontline, they may get problems of rape within their own stoops.......that could be a reason I suppose. But then as already mentioned above by docreedy, they had issues with gay men being in the army in previous years.

    Definitely food for thought!

    Alexis Garland, a friend of a friend, posted this article on my FB. It is a reply by women in the army to the above change in policy. Check it out:

  5. Regarding rape, the US military already has a big problem with that, whether women are on the frontline or not...