It is a noble act to take up the call to arms in defense of the American people, our rights and our way of life. Many have died in this defense. Military service is not a “male” thing.
Female military service is not a modern act either. Throughout history, there have been legends of mighty female warriors fighting for what they believe in. Women such as Hua Mulan, Joan of Arc and Lt. Elsie S. Ott of the Air Force, who was awarded the First Air Medal in 1943 for evacuating sick patients from India to Washington, D.C. History is full of heroines.
Women should be allowed to serve combat roles in today’s military, where there is no room for sexism. We are all equal in our creator’s eye, so why can’t women serve in active combat?
But discussing this opinion with my peers gave me pause. They claim Panetta’s new rule is unconstitutional or sexist. They say it places women in an unfair situation. Some even say that the battlefield is no place for a woman.
The ruling is constitutional and the claims otherwise were quickly invalidated. However, I was unsure what to think about the claims of sexism. The military has had its fair share of sexist claims in the past.
I interviewed a female former Marine, (who wished not to be identified) who served during the Iraq war. She admitted there was sexism in the military, but felt that decision was wrong for a different reason.
“There is always that feeling that girls cannot keep up with guys, or that girls can’t do the same job, like infantry,” she said. “It’s wrong… women aren’t emotionally stable enough to put up with the things that men see or go through. They should do everything a grunt can do and sometimes they can’t.”
But I believe the main deterrent for those who decide to serve should not be gender, but willingness. Not all men and women choose to serve as infantry. What should be done is to treat all those who enlist as equals.
The military’s problem is just as much discrimination as its willingness to evolve. Before African-Americans were totally free, they were able to serve in every war fought by or within the United States. Eventually, laws were created that desegregated the military.
Back then, as is today, there were critics who called out this idea, saying it would never work. Today, we think nothing about black men serving our country. It will be the same with women, given time, trial and error.
For too long, those who have answered the call to arms have been denied their life’s dream of service due to gender. The military needs to accept all those who are willing to serve if it wants to succeed in its duty to protect and serve.