Poll: Women In Front Line Combat Role

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I recently read a few articles about female military members in the US in court to allow themselves to be placed in front line combat roles, I've heard about this in the UK military as well but not to the extent of court cases. I'll base this discussion off the UK situation as here there is no overriding rules controlling it only the moral and practical implications viewed by those in charge stopping it. As a note I'm more writing this in reply to some of the strong views to making everything open to everyone rather than having a strong view to stopping it if you get what I mean.

The current uk rules are that Women are allowed in front line units but not those that actively seek out the enemy "to close with and to kill the enemy face to face".

I can see the one side of the argument that in a modern society we are all equal and should enjoy equal opportunities and in mho if someone wants to serve their country have at it, but that's where my support for that side ends and makes me support the current rules.

In a realistic non-overly politically correct world, we are all equal opportunity but we are not all the same neither physically or mentally. An it's an undeniable fact that men and women are different. denying that on average males have greater strength is like denying that on average women live longer lives.

in 2002 MOD research showed that only 1% of trained women soldiers were physically fit enough to qualify for the front line and found that women "required more provocation and were more likely to fear consequences of aggressive behaviour".

It also showed that about 70% of all posts in the UK army are open to women

This is a quote from the MoD 'The key issue is the potential impact of having both men and women in small teams. Under the conditions of high-intensity close-quarter battle, team cohesion becomes of much greater importance, and failure can have far-reaching and grave consequences.'We are not talking about barring women from the front line. This is about those small teams who fix bayonets and grenades and charge into a bunker to kill the enemy.'

I've also read articles about psychological concerns not on the part of the female soldiers but the male ones, fighting along side female members of the forces in life or death situations. Some of the reports suggest that some male soldiers would be more inclined to take action that would risk the peoples lives if a female soldier was in danger, as part of physiological instinct, similar to fight or flight. I've heard of extra stress due to the situation as well, but have only read that in passing so I can't comment too much.

Those are the fact's I've seen, so my question to you would be given that the positions in discussion are literally Life & Death, being that the research suggests that the vast majority of female soldiers would be at a significant disadvantage fighting male combatants and could possibly lead to unnecessary friendly casualties do the moral implications of saying "no you cannot have this job because of your sex" outweigh the potential risks. There is also the question of whether to allow the 1% who are capable into the roles, but then there are the implications of having mixed sex units etc, which seem to suggest negative effects at the present time. My personal opinion is while the research states what it does and the top brass are saying it would be detrimental to operations and peoples lives, things should stay as they are, their the ones in the know and I'm sure if they could increase their front line troops recruitment pool by 50% they would be happy to accept it.

I've included as many viewpoints as I can think in the poll

I don't have a problem with female tank crew, artillery gunners, fighter pilots or in surface ships. I think the physiological differences are to great for women to operate as infantry. A women has lower levels of testerone which builds muscle and promotes aggression. The odds are that a woman in an infantry role is at great risk of dying than a male counterpart. There are very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. As great a sprinter as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is there is no way she will ever beat Usain Bolt.

Women in the infantry? Don't care, but what we need brought back is a gay lover regiment. Seemed to work very well for the Thebans. And it would be hilarious for internet comedy writers.

Part of me wants to say yes because I'm all for equality, but I'm just not sure. As much as I hate to admit it, men are generally better suited for front lines combat. But, I would say that more research should be done to provide a definite answer.

Yes with same requirements. Though what I've read it's not really what's holding back to okay. It's that some guys don't trust a female soldier to hold there back in combat or unfairly giving duties or not giving them to female soldiers.

It may be true that men are more...predisposed...to a combat role due to what little physical differences there are in the genders AND our gender roles/programming, but since those female soldiers are (im guessing) volunteers...as long as they know the risks, it is their life to risk.

It is not like women are being forced into the military.

Also I would imagine it would be nice change of pace to break up the sausage fest.

Quaxar:
Women in the infantry? Don't care, but what we need brought back is a gay lover regiment. Seemed to work very well for the Thebans. And it would be hilarious for internet comedy writers.

The more I read the stranger that was... "each pair consisting of an older erastês (ἐραστής, "lover") and a younger erômenos (ἐρώμενος, "beloved"). and ""lovers and their favorites" Literally makes it sound like a troop of possible sexual abusers. How did they fight the spartans? lol

mechashiva77:
Part of me wants to say yes because I'm all for equality, but I'm just not sure. As much as I hate to admit it, men are generally better suited for front lines combat. But, I would say that more research should be done to provide a definite answer.

Yer that's why I thought it was an interesting topic as instinct for most people is equality, but when it could cost people lives where do we draw the line on equal opportunity vs practicality and their are those pushing for that view, which in my opinion is putting the blinkers on a bit as at the end of the day the problem is not increased danger to the individual as they are volunteering, its the people around them who depend on them, defiantly agree they should look into it more for the sake of those who are physically capable with the standards.

If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

All this is a consequence of arbitrary social mores. Men get stressed out or make risky decisions when women are in danger because society keeps insisting that women are helpless and fragile and need to be protected by men. This is patently false, but it shows up everywhere all the same.

Similarly, only 1% of women fit current male standards because we, as a society, insist that women must be thin, willowy and that anything that would give them physical strength (such as fat and muscle) are terribly undesirable. When it becomes socially desirable for women to have muscles (just like men), we'll start to see that 1% becoming 100%. And likewise, the bit about women needing more provocation and fearing the consequences of aggression have to do with the fact that women are socialised to be demure and quiet, and traits such as loudness, aggression and assertiveness are discouraged in them. Furthermore, women learn to avoid confrontational attitudes and play peacekeepers with men, something that wouldn't be necessary if they were socialised to be aggressive and value physical strength (just like men are socialised).

In short, change current societal mores and this problem disappears.

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

its not though, because as I said there's research that's been done which suggests it can have very negative effects psychologically on male soldiers that are totally involuntary and at the current time (possibly due to lack of research) seemingly unavoidable. Which is the point I was trying to make freedom of equality & opportunity could cost someone their life. An there are those that seem to think this is justified. which I'm inclined to disagree with.

I remember wondering about that a lot when I was little. A woman can fire a gun just as easily as a man, so why shouldn't they be allowed to serve on the front lines?

Then I learned that Russia actually used women for snipers because they tended to be better shots, so some countries used women as soldiers.

Then, one day when I was in college, my English teacher said something that I've always remembered: Women are needed to continue the population. If your fighting a war that threatens your very existence (whether it be total annihilation of the human race, or just your own way of life), you're going to need to keep your numbers up. A man is just needed for a few minutes and their job is done. Off they go to fight, but their work to continue the species is finished. A woman has to carry that baby for nine months, and then raise it. Out of combat for her. So there's that.

I personally believe that having a woman on the front lines will affect how men act. You can try to deny it all you want, but men act differently when women are around. Whether this means not deploying her unit, her her specifically, even though they are sorely needed because of the belief that a woman should be protected, or putting your unit at greater risk because a woman is in danger and you need to save her, or just having her as a distraction for the men.

Then there's all the science stuff that says women wouldn't be as effective as frontline soldiers as men would. Biological differences and structure differences.

So, my final thoughts: I don't think a woman should be on the front lines in active hunt and kill missions. If backed into a corner, or suddenly in a live fire fight that wasn't being sought, or any 'support' (and I use the term lightly, because I'm including pilots and gunners) roles, then that's fine.

4 years light infantry in the czech army here.

it works, and it works well. the germans do it. the czech army does it. the french army does it, one of the most powerful and probably one of the most underestimated fighting forces in the world, with the highest portion of women in any western military force.
all those issues go out of the window when it gets serious. you stop looking at the people with you as guys or girls, they are soldiers. you don't even think about it for a single second.

i think the resistance against it in the u.s. stems from the fact that less women are physicly capable. what do we do about that? do we set the same physical fitness standards for women and men, making it effectively extremely difficult for any girls to be admitted in a combat role (yes, girls are physicaly weaker than guys on average, get over it), or do we apply a lower standard to females, effectively reducing the overall quality of soldiers?

probably too much of such stuff that could cause a headache, hence they don't bother with it at all.

Jedi-Hunter4:
An it's an undeniable fact that men and women are different. denying that on average males have greater strength is like denying that on average women live longer lives.

And this right here is where you made the fallacy.

First of all, while yes, it is an undeniable fact that women and men are different, the question that should be asked is, "are the differences that are undeniable relevant to combat?" For example, men usually have penises. Since we do not carry rifles with our penises (spunk-gargle-wee-wee games notwithstanding) the distinction is irrelevant.

Also, I am not going to accept your claim that average males have greater strength without serious evidence as back up. I know a lot of males who have no appreciable upper body strength. I know a lot of males whose life revolves around a dull job sitting at a desk, lots of beer/chips/cola consumption, and then late night video game sessions. They are not stronger than most women I know, especially since most women I know routinely work out.

What you mean to say is "on average males have greater capacity for strength", meaning that if an average man consumes a proper diet and exercises to the peak of his physical capacity, he stands a good chance of being stronger than an average woman who does the same. This is why sexes are usually segregated in athletics.

The next question you need to ask yourself, however, is if that difference in strength matters to front line combat. Maybe 500 years ago, when soldiers needed to be able to stab each other with pikes, it mattered. Nowadays, as long as the soldier has the strength to carry their gear, it strikes me that there are much more important factors to consider- things like endurance, ability to follow orders, hand-eye coordination, and ability to make snap judgements in line with combat doctrines.

I see no credible reason to assume men are better at these things than women.

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

For the most part, this. However, we have an society built around the fact men protect women, so it might be difficult to ignore 20 years of social conditioning when you are in a life or death situation. I'm not saying this is fair or even right, but it exists. Of course, the army's thing is mental conditioning, so if they find they can build teams of men and women that get the job done, go for it.

Not at this moment in time. Look at who we are fighting at the moment. Terrorists with extreme Islamic faiths, the fact is they are not going to surrender if they know one of the soldiers firing upon them is female as it would be "shameful" or whatever which puts more soldiers in danger. In fact Israel used to gave woman on the front line but had to pull them out when so that extreme Islamic terrorists would surrender more easily. Now if we were facing enemies with more modern beliefs then yes, if they can pass the same physical tests as their male counterparts then I'm all for it.

But we should also be prepared that, in the early days, male soldiers are going to be protective of the female soldiers, however eventually that will fade. The exact same thing happened when female police officers were first allowed to work beats. Male officers from that time have stated that at first they naturally felt protective of their female comrades, but once it was clear they could hold their own that went away. What I'm basically trying to say is we shouldn't judge soldiers who feel they may be protective, it's just built in and will eventually go away.

Katatori-kun:

snip

I'm sorry but did you even read all of my posts? or even all of my original post?

"in 2002 MOD research showed that only 1% of trained women soldiers were physically fit enough to qualify for the front line"

".'We are not talking about barring women from the front line. This is about those small teams who fix bayonets and grenades and charge into a bunker to kill the enemy.'"

Direct quote of the quote I put in my original post. We are talking exactly about the guys who go in with bayonets and some times have to fight hand to hand, that does still happen in building and bunker clearance etc. We are talking about special forces etc the people who go in specifically (another direct quote here from my 1st post) "to close with and to kill the enemy face to face".

On average Human males are taller (meaning larger muscles) and have denser bones again generally meaning larger muscles to support the structure as well as higher defense to injury. Also with denser bones and greater height generally means greater weight, which is an advantage in CQB when taking blows as well as dealing them. I wouldn't of though anyone would challenge that tbh, its like what 12 year olds do in biology...

" I know a lot of males whose life revolves around a dull job sitting at a desk, lots of beer/chips/cola consumption, and then late night video game sessions." and the point would be that on average they are probably stronger than their female counterparts living in the same conditions. It's on average, that's what average means, there are exceptions, I know guys who are fitness fanatics weigh 18 stone an can lift double their weight, it all equals out on average.

sorry if I'm sounding a bit of a condescending dick but generally thats what you get when someone approaches you in the tone of "And this right here is where you made the fallacy." and later follows up with "What you mean to say is...". Don't really see what the need for that was ...

Physically I see no problem with letting them enlist. However mentally I think men might have a hard time seeing their female companions go down/blown to pieces.

Jedi-Hunter4:

Katatori-kun:

snip

I'm sorry but did you even read all of my posts? or even all of my original post?

"in 2002 MOD research showed that only 1% of trained women soldiers were physically fit enough to qualify for the front line"

I don't see how this matters unless the physical fitness requirements have been recently re-tooled for modern warfare.

".'We are not talking about barring women from the front line. This is about those small teams who fix bayonets and grenades and charge into a bunker to kill the enemy.'"

Sorry, I understood your post to be asking us about women in front-line aggressive combat roles in general. I know the British services still like their bayonette fighting from time to time but at least in the US that's not a prominent part of modern warfare.

On average Human males are taller (meaning larger muscles) and have denser bones again generally meaning larger muscles to support the structure as well as higher defense to injury. Also with denser bones and greater height generally means greater weight, which is an advantage in CQB when taking blows as well as dealing them.

You're still not getting it-

Averages are irrelevant. When you recruit for a job, what matters is that your recruits can do the job. You set minimum requirements based on what you need, and then any applicant who meets those requirements gets a shot at the job. Banning women from a position because of statistical averages is as absurd as banning Asian men from a basketball team because the statistical average isn't tall enough.

They should only be allowed in if they can prove themselves equal to their male counterparts. This is an issue where we shouldn't let feminism and gender equality come into the equation simply because if women can't demonstrate that they are equally as good then its going to get people killed.

As someone having served two tours in Afghanistan fairly recently, I can say that any argument for women not being able to hack it? You can chuck that out the window. Some of the medical units responding to heavy, sustained fire containing women have been the most effective and efficient crews I've ever seen.

The main argument I think given is the psychological stress and the mental trauma which comes with warfare. That and the fairly physical nature of the work, tends to lean in the favour of the male gender. ( Not that women don't also excel in these roles, I just think there's a much smaller number that are suited for it )

Mediumguy:
Physically I see no problem with letting them enlist. However mentally I think men might have a hard time seeing their female companions go down/blown to pieces.

Female or male, the sight of seeing a comrade disappear into a cloud of smoke and dust and then having to watch as someone cleans up with a shovel and a bag? I've seen men that I considered harder than Chuck Norris breakdown. It also being one of the reasons I chose to get the fuck out of that life-style.

Katatori-kun:
snip

Royal Marine Commando's these are an example of the regiments that bar women from their combat squads this is what they are required to do during selection this is only part of a 32 week training course which excludes specilisation

after their course which is grueling in itself they are required to do 4 tests over a 7 day period carrying full combat gear of 32lb

9 Mile speed march to be completed in 90 mins, again in full gear

Endurance course a six mile (9.65 km) course across rough moorland and woodland terrain, which includes tunnels, pipes, wading pools, and an underwater culvert. The course ends with a four mile (6 km) run back to CTCRM. Followed by a marksmanship test, where the recruit must hit 6 out of 10 shots at a 25m target simulating 200 m. To be completed in 73 minutes

Assault course death slide and ends with a rope climb up a thirty foot near-vertical wall. It must be completed with full fighting order in 13 minutes.

30 Mile march wearing full fighting order, and additional safety equipment carried by the recruit in a daysack. to be completed in eight hours for recruits and seven hours for Royal Marine officers, who must also navigate the route themselves.

Those are the sort of requirements they are saying only 1% of female soldiers are up to standard. The standards are very high, and by average what I'm trying to get across is the averages are so starkly different that there are very few women outside of athletes (and this is according to the MOD stats) that are capable of making those requirements. An yer I couldn't get up an do that, but I'm not in a training program atm, I'd like to think I could based of previous things I've done, but would be very very hard. It costs money to asses these people if only 1% are capable you do the math.

The there's all the psychological factors I mentioned. I stated I thought those who were capable should be allowed to do it, but the psychological effects on male troops should be investigated to see if there are detrimental effects, so I'm not really sure why you think I'm an advocate of banning women, I'm just saying I can see the logic in the stats they have based it off. I'm no military nut, but from my experience in the cadets and growing up in a military town its my understanding the UK forces have very high standards on a global scale in terms of physical performance, training and officers qualifications, so I can fully understand how because of the physical differences between men and women it wound up being along gender lines in the most demanding of roles.

Jedi-Hunter4:
Those are the sort of requirements they are saying only 1% of female soldiers are up to standard.

Then since 1% is a number higher than 0%, women should be allowed to apply for the position.

and by average what I'm trying to get across is the averages are so starkly different that there are very few women outside of athletes (and this is according to the MOD stats) that are capable of making those requirements.

I know what you're trying to get across, and it's irrelevant. Militaries recruit real people, not averages. If real people meet the requirements, they should be allowed to have the job, averages be damned.

The there's all the psychological factors I mentioned.

I think it's very poor to use potential, hypothetical psychological factors as an excuse for denying real people equality now. The onus is on the people who want to keep women out to prove these factors are real, not on the women who want in to sit around and wait for someone to prove they aren't. Because if the debate on "Don't ask, don't tell" in the US has taught us anything, it's that no one is going to bother to prove they aren't real. The excuse of a potential problem will be used as long as it is allowed to be used to deny people equal employment.

Katatori-kun:

I think it's very poor to use potential, hypothetical psychological factors as an excuse for denying real people equality now.

Well this was also my point, I guess I have just met the other side of the argument is all. I disagree that its worth the increased risk to the lives of people who although doing it through their own choice are doing a job that secures the safety of myself and the people I care about. They already do an incredibly dangerous job and so their safety should be paramount as much as possible and its my opinion if the Generals etc etc are saying it would compromise these units effectiveness and stats are supporting it that things should stay as they are. Which is a sad fact that yer its not total gender equality in these small amount of jobs, but their not exactly your average job and its based off effectiveness in the role of that job.

geez you are all so afraid to admit women might actually be physically different from men. it's a fact that women on average have less muscle mass and take longer to build strength because of testosterone. that's not to say they can't fulfill the role but they are less likely to and will potentially require more training

also they have vaginas....
really wish i could find a link to the american politician that very awkwardly used the vagina argument but regardless of how poorly he put it he still had a point. women do require more hygienic conditions then men. we haven't had any major trench warfare lately but i dare say men will always fair better in the long term than women when exposed to unhygienic conditions

the Israeli army does a pretty good job of integrating women into it's ranks but they will admit that men tend to favor rescuing women over men even if it potentially endangers themselves and it has been shown that in some cases men will prioritize giving medical aid to a dieing women when instead they should have given aid to a less injured but savable man
it is also shown that islamic militants are less likely to surrender to women and consider them less of a threat (potentially a good or bad thing)

i won't say that women should never serve on the front lines nor do i have any military experience. i believe the major factor that should exclude women from major combat roles is not the women themselves but the effects they may have on their male counterparts and until further study is done or that is rectified no they should not serve on the front lines

Personally, I've always viewed these things in a truly equal manner. Yes, physically, men tend to have more stamina than women (Although that whole birth being more painful than anything else in the world I'm dubious about, since there isn't a way to accurately measure pain. For all men know, it could actually be a lot less painful than having your nuts squeezed until they pop...but we'll never really know). But that's why there are so many rigorous physical tests that need to be passed before one can go on the front lines. As far as I'm concerned, as long as one can pass all these tests, and is psychologically sound enough for battle, gender should be irrelevant.

Jedi-Hunter4:

Meaning of Karma:
If a woman meets the physical requirements needed for front line combat, then yes, let them do it. If they don't, then no.

It's that fucking simple.

its not though, because as I said there's research that's been done which suggests it can have very negative effects psychologically on male soldiers that are totally involuntary and at the current time (possibly due to lack of research) seemingly unavoidable. Which is the point I was trying to make freedom of equality & opportunity could cost someone their life. An there are those that seem to think this is justified. which I'm inclined to disagree with.

How about 'amazon units'? There are thousands of women physically qualified for this work, and statistics indicate women have higher tolerance of pain and traumatic experiences. They'd make good soldiers. All female units may minimize the problem you bring up.

Also, instinct and cultural views are not the same thing. Some men don't have the 'protect women reflex.' Not to say the problem isn't still there. Just saying it's not like it's going to be true across the board. I freely admit this is a complex issue and maybe some people don't like gender segregating, but in this matter I think it makes sense. But if those women CAN fight, they shouldn't have their opportunity gimped because of something that has nothing to do with them.

Also, being less likely to resort to violence might result in less, ya know, war crimes?

A lot of people here are missing an important thing about the military; and about military training.

Allow me to explain:
You are not a man. You are not a woman. You are not white. You are not black. You are not hispanic. You are not straight. You are not gay. You are not good at algebra. You are not a talented fiction writer. You are not an individual. You are not a precious snowflake.

YOU ARE A SOLDIER.

Any characteristic that distinguishes you from your fellow soldier is to be based upon ability. Nothing more, nothing less. Armies wear uniforms not only to show allegiance and as a source of pride, but also as a leveller and equaliser. You, and the soldier on your left, and the one on your right, are the SAME. You are a team, in the utmost sense, in that there is no individual worth any more than any other. And if you have some issue, no matter how trivial, that could be a hazard or a hinderance to the other soldiers then you are a liability, and if you can't control it then you have no place being in said team. I know when I was going for officer training, I wanted armoured division. I wanted a big machine with big guns! But I need glasses or contacts all the time. My review stated, quite simply and without prejudice, 'you have glasses. when a vehicle is hit, it shakes like a giant has picked you up and is playing yahtzee with you and 4 other tanks. your glasses will fall off, or break. either way, you're blind. and you have a crew waiting for your next orders. what use are you going to be, fumbling around looking for your glasses? you've just cost the lives of several good soldiers, and destroyed a very expensive piece of machinery, because you got the job that someone else with perfect eyes should have gotten.' Expand that anecdote to gender.

This is why many men, for example, simply can't cope with military life, and many many more never even attempt it. There is a dissociation of self, a removal of your individuality, that is required for the work. When a commanding officer elects YOU to run into the open to distract the enemy and give the rest of the team an idea of where that sniper is, you don't stop and think 'but I wanted to go dancing tomorrow!' You fucking do it because you are part of a well-disciplined machine that thinks, acts, and reacts as one gestalt force.

No offence, I am certain women have killer instincts just as well as men. And I know certainly many many women I would never wish to cross (or even give a reason to look at me angrily!) let alone have shooting at me. But the psychology of the rest of your force is more important than the psychology of a minority within it.

It's simply easier for the military to say 'no', rather than open a Pandora's Box of by saying 'yes, but...'.

I voted 'no', falling into the minority once again, but I had ought to at least explain myself. I oppose needless, petty conflicts like war in general, and I vote no as an umbrella statement, to say 'women [and] men' should not be allowed in combat, not that women specifically should not be allowed to do something a man can do.

Overusedname:

How about 'amazon units'? There are thousands of women physically qualified for this work, and statistics indicate women have higher tolerance of pain and traumatic experiences. They'd make good soldiers. All female units may minimize the problem you bring up.

Can't say I disagree if they meet the standards

Yes, and everyone should be encouraged to schtupp everyone in the armed forces.
Look back to ancient Greece. Soldiers were encouraged to butt-buddy up. It created a sense of camaraderie, and motivated them to fight harder to keep the people they schtupp alive.

Well, I had something to say, but then I read this:

Katatori-kun:

Jedi-Hunter4:
An it's an undeniable fact that men and women are different. denying that on average males have greater strength is like denying that on average women live longer lives.

And this right here is where you made the fallacy.

First of all, while yes, it is an undeniable fact that women and men are different, the question that should be asked is, "are the differences that are undeniable relevant to combat?" For example, men usually have penises. Since we do not carry rifles with our penises (spunk-gargle-wee-wee games notwithstanding) the distinction is irrelevant.

Also, I am not going to accept your claim that average males have greater strength without serious evidence as back up. I know a lot of males who have no appreciable upper body strength. I know a lot of males whose life revolves around a dull job sitting at a desk, lots of beer/chips/cola consumption, and then late night video game sessions. They are not stronger than most women I know, especially since most women I know routinely work out.

What you mean to say is "on average males have greater capacity for strength", meaning that if an average man consumes a proper diet and exercises to the peak of his physical capacity, he stands a good chance of being stronger than an average woman who does the same. This is why sexes are usually segregated in athletics.

The next question you need to ask yourself, however, is if that difference in strength matters to front line combat. Maybe 500 years ago, when soldiers needed to be able to stab each other with pikes, it mattered. Nowadays, as long as the soldier has the strength to carry their gear, it strikes me that there are much more important factors to consider- things like endurance, ability to follow orders, hand-eye coordination, and ability to make snap judgements in line with combat doctrines.

I see no credible reason to assume men are better at these things than women.

. . . And now I don't. So, thank you for making my life easier.

Have I ever mentioned you're my favorite poster on this site?

Well.
As much as women and men should be equal in every respect, the general trend is still that men find it easier to put on muscle. Plus I think I've heard that men are more likely to produce a 'fight or flight' response, whereas women are more likely to attempt some kind of social solution. Forgot what the term was.

So.
Hopefully this doesn't make me a total bigot. I just think that wanting complete equality is a tiny bit ignorant when there are some -minor- differences between men and women generally. So... women that are up for it, yeah, they should definitely be allowed to at least apply. But if that study is accurate and only 1% are fit for it, then no punches should be pulled and only 1% shoul get it.

Also, just speaking from my own experience, I think that seeing a girlfriend or really any of my female friends die in combat would just completely break me. Seeing one of my male friends die would hurt like hell, but I'd be more likely to get angry and want to fight back rather than just break down entirely. I think. I couldn't really say without experiencing either of those things. But I do know that if I saw my ex kick it, I definitely would break down. I still care a huge about her. So opening up more possibilities for romance on the front line... maybe damaging overall?

Men are on average stronger. That doesn't change the fact that lots of people, men and women can whoop my ass. Just because you have a genetic predisposition doesn't mean your entire life has to built around it. Just have some sort of test or qualification set (they probably already do) and judge based on how they preform. Gender neutral tests that put the issue less on "because you have estrogen!" and more on "because you couldn't bench 150 pounds!"

As for psychological, that's based on engrained sexual bias. So long as we perpetuate it by letting it be, it will never change. If you want equality you're going to have to muscle though people having gender issues at first. The question is wiether or not you think its worth it to break down this barrier. Is a potential future with more women on front line worth possible complications that result immediately after enforcement begins? That's a more difficult question to answer.

Kathinka:
Do we set the same physical fitness standards for women and men, making it effectively extremely difficult for any girls to be admitted in a combat role (yes, girls are physicaly weaker than guys on average, get over it), or do we apply a lower standard to females, effectively reducing the overall quality of soldiers?

probably too much of such stuff that could cause a headache, hence they don't bother with it at all.

I'm surprised by the fact that this was the exact thought in my head when reading the OP. Admit them as long as they perform at the same level as every other soldier. There is no excuse for allowing the overall quality of your force drop just because someone thinks girls are special and should be treated as such. The only thing that would come out of lowering the standard for female soldiers is that those female soldiers will die. Or get a male counterpart killed.

People need to stop sugar coating the world. It's a big and dangerous place and no one is special and no one should be treated as such. If a job, be it military, commercial or what-have-you has a certain standard expected of the people that work in the field, the field should remain even for all that want to work in it.

It's only fair.

For me, I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to be enlisted in combat arms. In fact, let me show my line of thinking with this series of questions:

1): Have they volunteered to enlist into the military, disregarding specific branch? If Yes...

2): Have they opted to go into combat arms? If Yes...

3): Are they at all physically qualified, and can training make up for what they lack from the time they enlist? If Yes...

4): Are they better qualified for a different role in support as opposed to combat arms, and if so, did they still opt for a combat role? If Yes...

They should be allowed to serve their country in a combat infantry role.

Now, I know that the above is over-simplified. Each and every person alive will have differences, some that make them ill-suited to combat, and some that simply make them... Undesirable in that role, for one reason or another. Gender, however, should not be a factor.

Now yes, men and women are physically, and even mentally and emotionally, different. And yes, if captured, female soldiers have a much, much higher chance to be raped by the enemy when they become prisoners of war.

But.

If they volunteer and accept these risks as part of the duties of combat infantry, let them be infantry. In Britain and the U.S. at the very least, only legal adults can enlist in the military, disregarding the few underage enlistees that sneak into the service. That means, as legal adults, they have the right to make the choice as to whether or not they put their lives in danger like that. So, ultimately, its up to them.

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