[ return to top ]Changing of Roles of Women in the Military
Changing of Roles of Women in the Military
Combat Exclusion Law
Should women serve in combat positions? The Combat Exclusion Law has dealt with this question since the 1940’s. As time continues, the question remains. The military has increased the percentage of females allowed to be enlisted and commissioned in the services as well as increasing the positions allotted to them (Matthews, Ender, Laurence, & Rohall, 2009). Keenan posits “women have served with distinction in … the Revolutionary War…as volunteer nurses and were only occasionally in the direct line of fire…four nurses evacuating 42 patients while the Germans bombed ...view middle of the document...
With the 1994 change in the “Risk Rule”, assignments were available for females in all services to participate in all available positions. Exceptions of “assignments to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat” (the DoD Combat Exclusion Policy) pg 22(ibid) were put in place.
H.R. 1928 sought to title their bill “Women’s Fair and Equal right to Military Service Act” (HR. 1928), as greater than 250,000 females had already been deployed to combat zones in the Middle East and at that time 137 females had lost their lives while in combat (HR 1928). As women continue to work side by side with men, the case of equal placement continues. Contrary to that argument is the power to care for family members, specifically the children and how they are affected when their mother goes into battle.
Additional Policies that were a Result or Outcome
of Combat Exclusion Law
As the Combat Exclusion Law was defined, the separate services were provided the leniency of distinguishing their ability to determine possible combat risks. Each military service was to define their policies to determine where females could and could not serve. What this means to the Army in particular is that “all jobs except those having the highest probability of engaging in direct combat” (GOA, pg 8) will be opened to women in the Army. The Navy, Marines and Air Force have all had to evaluate the exclusion laws as well and determine for their female members what safety means in light of potential harm brought to their female members.
The Struggle of Course of Events Involving this Issue
The ability for one to determine the roles of women in the military became skewed as warfare changed. This change combined with the female role shifting caused strategic navigation for services to confirm locations and positions of women in the services as “safe versus dangerous locations” (…GOA, pg 10) were trying to determine.
The percentage of women in the military services has continued to develop since 1970’s. In 2007, 15 percent of the force was female compared to 9 percent at the time of the Gulf War (Smith, Jacobson, Smith, Hooper, & Ryan, 2007). By May 2011 “260,457 female members of the Armed Forces had served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation new Dawn” (HB 1928) with 137 having lost their lives. The bill continues to report increased numbers of females placed in the frontline regardless of the current exclusion policy.
Acceptance of women in the military participating in various roles has increased over the years. According to Lt. Col. Henderson Baker II, women’s acceptance into combat roles may be a cultural issue that has placed a barrier on women to continue to proceed to the front lines. He posits “their specialties and expertise, not their gender, have taken them closer to the battlefront” (USAWC STRATEGY RESEARCH PROJECT).
In 2009, Matthews, Ender, Laurence, & Rohall completed a survey, detailing personal...