December 28, 2015, by Emma White – Beginning in January, qualified female fighters will likely be joining the ranks of males for the first-time ever in the front lines of combat.
A new military decree is expected to open more than 220,000 direct combat jobs to women as early as next month. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says women soldiers will “be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat . . . and everything else that was previously open only to men.”
Finally, it seems that the fight for gender equality within our military has reached the same pinnacle as America’s broader fight for freedom. For those who refute that females can be as equally effective as male soldiers on the front lines, we need only to look at other countries as evidence to the contrary. More than 15 nations – including Germany, Israel and North Korea – already permit women to engage in combat. And those countries boast some of the mightiest armed forces in the world.
Israel, Norway and Eritrea – a small country in the horn of Eastern Africa – actually mandate military service for women. Women have taken part in Israel’s military before and since the founding of the state in 1948 and females there comprise about 33 percent of the Israeli Defense Force and represent more than half of its officers.
In 2000, Israel passed the Equality amendment to the Military Service law stated that “The right of women to serve in any role in the IDF is equal to the right of men.” The amendment that female lawmakers had drafted granted equal opportunities to women found physically and personally suitable for a job.
Other militaries – mostly in Western countries, such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France and New Zealand – also welcome women on the front lines.
And why shouldn’t they? In modern warfare, it’s archaic to think women can’t be as tough as males in the line of duty. And while some military traditionalists say the combat duties performed by women in foreign military units are often exaggerated, those Americans taking to the frontlines of its armed forces won’t be.
In fact, a handful of women have already proven they could successfully graduate the Army’s grueling 62-day Ranger School and perform at – or above – the level of men. Earlier this summer, Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police platoon leader, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache attack helicopter pilot, were heralded as pioneers and trailblazers and likely converted some skeptics who previously believed women had no place on the front lines.
If that wasn’t convincing enough, the Pentagon’s own data seems to suggest benefits of adding female combat soldiers to the military mix.
Reports from the agency conclude that while males tend to be more aggressive – a trait beneficial in combat – it can also lead to more accidents and injuries. Military men suffer twice the eye injuries of women and account for nearly 95 percent of all military suicides, according to data from the Pentagon. Comparatively, the agency found that women soldiers are more cautious and far less likely to crash and kill themselves in combat.
In short, we’re now living in a modern age where the military must be able to recruit and retain the healthiest, most prepared force. That means opening all opportunities to all soldiers – regardless of their sex.
Bio: this post was brought to you by Emma White from Estapermits.org. Estapermits.org was founded in 2011, providing professional consular service to the US.