Miss USA, 2016, Deshauna Barber, has put a new face on the image of women in the military. As a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, she is the first titleholder to be actively serving. Despite the presence of women in the armed forces for decades, female soldiers still experience a kind of gender bias that is rarely encountered in other professions.
The issue is likely to gain more attention now that the Pentagon has decided to open up all combat jobs to women. This makes women in combat and the role of women in the military timely research paper topics.
Women in combat
Warfare and the protection of the nation has long been the province of men and yet women have served as well. Although female soldiers have often served in combat zones where they were under fire, they were not allowed to officially hold combat positions. Those who seek to make a career in the military find their path of advancement limited because holding combat positions is a prerequisite.
On December 3, 2015, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced that the Pentagon would open all combat positions to women starting in early 2016. The announcement has been met with strong reaction from both sides of the debate.
Many, including Senator John McCain of Arizona, are convinced that the presence of women in combat will impair our military’s fighting capabilities. Others feel that the military must reflect the nation’s commitment to inclusion and democracy. Moreover, they feel that U.S. security relies on the efforts of the largest possible pool of talent. That includes women.
Matthew Rosenberg and Dave Philipps offered thoughts from Carter and others in their December 3, 2015, article for NYTimes.com, “All Combat Roles Now Open to Women, Defense Secretary Says.”
Some question the practicality of integrating women into combat units where they would be required to go on long marches carrying as much as 100 pounds of gear. Carter agreed that women must meet all qualifications for any job that they wanted to fill.
“He also acknowledged that many units were likely to remain largely male, especially elite infantry troops and Special Operations forces, where ‘only small numbers of women could’ likely meet the standards,” the article stated.
Women in the military arguments
Lorry M. Fenner and Marie E. Deyoung took on both sides of the debate in their book, Women in Combat: Civic Duty or Military Liability?
Both authors used their own extensive experience in the U.S. military along with a broad range of empirical data to expand on their opposing perspectives. For Lorry Fenner, it is unequivocally clear that women should be fully integrated into the military and should serve in whatever capacity for which they are qualified, including combat units. Marie deYoung believes just as strongly that serving in combat would be a personal and social disaster for women.
In expanding her arguments supporting the role of women in combat positions, Fenner reminded readers that the nature of combat has changed radically. Not all roles require brute strength. Some, such as the job of sniper, require intelligence, good eyesight and a firm hand.
“Intellect also is not bounded by physical attributes. We all recognize that some occupations demand more intelligence or education than others, and the first step for the armed forces is to decide how much intelligence a person needs and how to measure it accurately,” Fenner stated.
In defense of women in defense
Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, was asked her opinion of women in combat during the pageant competition. Barber, age 26, is a captain in the Army and is commander of the 988th Quartermaster Detachment at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Paul Schrodt provided video of Barber’s powerful reply in his June 6, 2016, article for BusinessInsider.com, “The new Miss USA, who’s an Army officer gave a passionate defense of women in the military.”
“We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army,” Barber said.
Find more research paper topic ideas for women in the military at Questia.
What is your opinion about women in the military? Do you think that women will soon be subject to the draft? Tell us in the comments.