Women in the Military


The war on gender equality has come long way, as societies have undergone radical changes in their social, political, and economic systems. Such far-reaching changes are evident in the roles that societies have allowed females to give a hand in. For example, previously countries or societies never allowed women to fight in the forces; to act as police officers; to work as construction personnel; or to take jobs that relate to scientific innovations.

The situation is different today, as countries and societies endeavor to utilize fully their available human resources. Although this is the case, still some societies never allow women to participate in wars; primarily combat positions, even though the situation is changing in many countries, as a good number of women presently have active roles in combat zones.

It is important to note that, even if most “civilized” societies have allowed women to involve themselves in military activities, a small number of those recruited are assigned active warfare responsibilities. This paper will discuss the roles that most countries have assigned women; primarily combat positions.

Women in the Military

Historically participation of women in the military dates back to times of the revolutionary war, due to the awakening of the world that, women also had a role to play as pertained to protecting their citizenry. It is important to note that, although in some war scenarios women were involved in direct combat, their participation was minimal, primarily because most societies still held the masculinity and femininity concept when it as concerned role delegation, hence taking their participation to be of little significance.

Its is necessary to note also that, although this notion has changed with time; because of the inclusion of women in combat operations, still there are clear signs of discriminations when it comes to major military operations.

Examples of wars where women were active participants include both world wars; where more than a half a million women participated in the war, the Korean War; where more than one hundred and thousand women were actively involved in war, and the times of the desert storm; where more than forty thousand women actively participated in war.

In most of these battles, it is necessary to note that, women were involved in the rear gear military responsibilities for example, offering medical help to the injured male soldiers, supplying of foods to the fighting male soldiers, and in some almost military camps, women acted as secretaries. Majority of researches attribute such role segregations to the sexist notion prevalent in most traditional societies; although communities do the same the same currently, although in minimal levels (De Young, 2001, pp. 5-27).

Roles of Women in Combat

Majority of antagonist of the concept of having women as active combatants base their argument on the notion that, there exist a great variation in the psychological, physical, and mental make up of both sexes.

Although this is the case, still some countries for example, United States, Israel, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, and France allow women to partake in active warfare roles, with little consideration of the nature of the combat arms. In addition, to these countries that allow women to partake in such roles fully, some world societies have specific combat arms, which women can offer their expertise.

Such partial combat role assignment is prevalent in the United Kingdom military, whereby its military exempts women from serious infantry roles, but assigns them some artillery roles (Deane, 2000, Para .1-4). Although this is the case as reported in The Independent, the U.K. is trying to encourage active participation of women in the infantry roles however, the country reserves majority of those roles to men (Para 7).

(Wilson, 2005, p.1)

In most military operations, most nations allow women to offer a hand in ground combat. Although this is the case, it is important to note that, depending on a country the Marine Corps policies vary. This is because; in some countries, women can directly engage themselves in direct warfare with their opponents, something that is contrary in some countries for example the United States.

In the United States, the Marine Corps laws limit women’s active participation in direct warfare, which may involve instances whereby likelihoods of physical contacts are high, in enemy seizing combats, or cases where likelihoods of directly encountering the rivals’ fire attacks are high (Wan, 2006, p.1).

Although this is the situation, it is important to note that, due to the public outcry for the senate to review such restrictions, likelihoods of reviewing the laws are high. This is because; participation of military women in direct combat in the recent and continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is a clear indication that, women can achieve a lot as concerns their military prowess in active ground combat operations(De Luce, 2010, p.1 and Willens, 1998, Para.11).

Majority of countries allow women to participate in naval combat. Activities that women can participate in as concerns naval warfare include navigating of cruisers and assault ships. In addition, majority of countries also allow women to participate in other naval combat activities, although the scenario changes when it comes to navigating SEALs and submarines.

Another combat section that most countries allow women to participate in is the navigation of the flying combat airplanes. On the other hand, considering the increasing number of female combatants serving as naval flight officers, likelihoods of role re-assignment in navigating submarines to women are high (MediLexicon International, 2010, p.1).

Apart from direct warfare in battlefields, women have also a role to play when it comes to training combatants, be they male or female. For example, in the U.S., women for along time have acted as trainers in combat training centers for example, the MCT (East) camp.

Previously, the case was different in the MCT (west) training center; a scenario that has undergone transition, because currently the center has also female instructors (Powers, 2010, p.1). Considering this fact, one clear question that antagonist of inclusion of women in combat missions should answer is that; how can somebody with all the knowledge on military operations; it being a practical field, lack the potentiality of applying the same knowledge in the field, regardless of their sex?


In conclusion, considering the many contributions that women have made in many militaries, it is important to grant all sexes equal chances of not only joining the military, but also of actively participating in direct combat operations. This is because; both men and women soldiers undergo the same preparation training and undergo the same traumatic experiences in any war scenario.

In addition, it is important to note that, the traditional notion that overlooks women potentialities, when it comes to direct combat is baseless in that, regardless of the sex, success in warfare depends on the tactical skills of the army in war. Such an argument is defendable, considering the many achievements that women combatants have helped countries for example the United States achieve (a case that is prevent more so in Iraqi and Afghanistan) to achieve.

Reference List

Deane, J. (2000, May 29). Women tested for frontline soldering. The Independent.

Retrieved March 31, 2010, from

De Luce, D. (2010). Wars forces U.S. military tom review ban on women in combat. Center for a New American Security. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from
< http://www.cnas.org/node/4174>

De Young. (2001). Women in combat: civic duty or military liability? Washington George Town University Press. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from

MediLexicon International. (2010). New York Times examines women in military.

Combat roles. Medical News Today. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from

< http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160937.php>

Powers, R. (2010). Female instructors at Marine Corps basic combat training. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from
< http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/marinejoin/a/marfemaleinst.htm>

Wan, S. (2006). Women role in combat: is ground front the next front? Hohonu Journal of Academic Writing, 4(1), 1. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from
< http://www.uhh.hawaii.edu/academics/hohonu/writing.php?id=112>

Willens, J. (1998). Women in the military: combat roles considered. Center for Defense Information: CDI. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from
< http://www.cdi.org/issues/women/combat.html>

Wilson, B. A. (2005). Women combat: why not? Retrieved March 31, 2010, from
< http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/combat.html>

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