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Women At War Essay

2194 words - 9 pages

Women at War
Women have faced multiple struggles to gain equality. When it comes to women trying to fight for our rights in the country, the struggle is even tougher. Throughout history, women being involved in the military seemed to be more of a burden than anything. Even though women can help with military readiness, social change throughout the military and get the career advancement they have been dreaming of for so long, they have had a hard time convincing others differently. Others would see women being a part of the military as a risk factor, as they are not as physically strong as men or that women are to compassionate compared to men. Even with the extra stress from maternal and ...view middle of the document...

During World War One, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps allowed women to enlist. More than 12,000 women enlisted and about 400 died during the war. Women also worked in hospitals and in factories, offices, transportation services, and other jobs vacated by men who were off at war. By the end of the First World War, women made up 24% of aviation plant workers. In World War Two, a total of 350,000 women served in the U.S. military. In 1942, the Army created the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), these women served overseas in North Africa. A year later the WAAC became the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), in which more than 150,000 women served. The Navy began Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in 1942 as well. The Coast Guard began set up a women’s reserve called Semper Paratus/Always Ready, (SPARS). A year later the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve began. By the end of the war more than 85% of the U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters were women.
On September 5, 1990, the U.S.S. Acadia left San Diego for the Persian Gulf where over 40,000 women served in the 1991 Gulf War. It was the first time men and women were shipped out together in wartime conditions. Women continued to play more active roles in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2005, Leigh Ann Hester became the first female soldier to receive the Silver Star for exceptional valor close-quarters combat, with Monica Lin Brown receiving the second Silver Star for women soon to follow in 2008. In January of 2013 the playing field was leveled even more when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the ban on women serving in combat roles would be lifted. The change will be gradual, some positions will be available immediately to women where others have until 2016 to make the change.
Allowing a mixed gender force keeps the military strong and prepared. Since 1973, when the United States military ended conscription and established and all-volunteer force, the number of women
serving on active duty has risen dramatically (Patten). The pressure that came with this caused an increase in more openings for units and career fields for women. Widening the applicant pool for all jobs assured more willing recruits. Women, who choose to become active combat soldiers, are less likely to get out of their duty by becoming pregnant after a call-up, as these women willingly joined the army (Sisters in Arms). Between 1992 and 1994, legislative and policy changes were made to increase opportunities for women.
Career advancement for women in all fields has been something rarely seen throughout history. As time has passed, the gap between men and women who advance in their careers shrank in size. The military is one place that women have had an even harder time getting that advancement in their careers. As combat duty is usually regarded as necessary for promotion to senior officer positions, denying female personnel this experience ensures that very few will ever reach the highest ranks in the...

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