Can’t deny equal rights to women in military

There is a sense of American pride observed when you pass a house displaying the “War Mother’s Flag.”

But would this view of American pride change if you knew the military member overseas was a female?

For years, women have worked to participate as soldiers in the military, and they have succeeded — with certain limitations.

Editorial Board

Andrew Krietz
Katie Harrington
Greg Olsen
Derek Blalock
Omari Sankofa II
RuAnne Walworth

But last Thursday, the U.S. Military announced it would formally remove a ban that has been in place for almost two decades — banning women from combat zones.

Now that this ban has been lifted, women officially will be allowed to apply for positions in combat rolls starting in May.

There are concerns to mull over when discussing whether to allow women to fight in combat zones. Trying to make men and women equal in this sense is a tough task.

The strength of a woman is one of the main concerns that originally put the ban into ordinance and still has many people troubled today.

Women are not built the same as men, and they naturally have a more petite structure and less muscle mass. Because of this, one has to stop and think from a general soldier’s perspective: when raiding a building and expecting an ambush from the enemy, would you want a man or a woman behind you, watching your back and providing you cover fire?

This is a difficult issue to discuss without sounding sexist or degrading to a certain extent.

We live in a society that constantly strives to make everything and everyone equal, and if women want to be in combat, our society has made it possible that they have an American right to do so.

A simple solution to the strength argument of women in combat is women must pass the same physical tests as men, ensuring they would be able to, for example, carry a fallen comrade across a field braving gunfire.

The U.S. currently is in a position where we have many threats against our country, and we need as many people as possible fighting in the military during our time of need.

Furthermore, not all combat-related roles are based solely on the front lines. There are other roles equally as important in the combat zone women also could perform.

They could be a gunman in a tank supporting their troops, or a helicopter pilot picking up comrades in a raid.

Just as each military soldier specializes in a certain area and has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, women naturally fit better into certain roles.

Women already serve in a number of combat positions, including serving on ships in combat areas.

It has been reported that about 292,000 women have served in combat zones since the since the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. In both wars, 152 women have died from combat or noncombat causes and 958 have been wounded in action.

Denying women who fight in combat roles the rewards granted to men has been an unfair reality since the original policy was implemented, and the decision to lift the ban is years overdue.

The men who have been fighting alongside these women agree. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the service chiefs were unanimous in their support of the move.

In the end, the role someone plays ultimately is based on what the safest plan of action is for the soldiers on the battlefield, ensuring they can perform their tasks the safest and most efficient way possible.

If women prove they are able to perform the same tasks as men, we should support them in this right. After all, that is what the U.S. is all about.

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