Thursday, June 30, 2005

women in combat

There was some debate in Congress recently, about whether women belong in combat. I guess this shouldn't have been a surprise to me, given the socially conservative bent of our current Congress, but honestly, I just don't get it.

If there are women in our military who prefer to serve combat roles, why shouldn't they? I've heard the argument that the men can't bear to see their female counterparts get injured, but I don't buy it. Besides, why should the women be punished because their male colleagues, due to misguided chivalry, aren't able to fulfill their job functions?

I guess there are still some would argue that women can't effectively perform the duties required. I'm sure this is true for many women (me, for one), and plenty of men as well. Regardless, there are some women that are up to the task, and they should be given the chance to prove it.

Just last week, a woman, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, was awarded a Silver Star for exceptional valor during close combat. Hers was the first Silver Star given to a woman since World War II, probably because women in the US military are prohibited from serving in units likely to see ground combat.

Now that I think about it, if we consider medals for soldiers analogous to promotions and/or bonuses for civilian jobs, then it becomes obvious, that when women in the military are excluded from roles likely to see combat, they are being unfairly denied career development opportunities.

I wonder why no one has filed a gender discrimination suit yet.

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