Women still battle for equality

Women still battle for equality

Staff Editorial

This time last year, The Pentagon released a statement that outlined 14,000 new positions for women. This past week, again The Pentagon released a statement this time say that women now have the ability to enter into combat. What their statement did not outline, however, are the countless challenges, prejudices and judgements that are made every day about women who embark on careers in the armed services.

ed-cartoon021513Physically, women are not as strong as men. They aren’t usually bench pressing over 100 pounds at the gym and most civilians are not lifting heavy artillery as part of daily life. In the military, carrying this much weight — both figuratively and literally — is not uncommon. Not only do women lead teams and become decorated officers, they have to perform at the same physical level as their male counterparts. In addition, women often have to go out on a limb to prove themselves to their male superiors, and even to some lower ranking officers who doubt their capabilities.

Sexual assault is a problem for women in general, but add the pressure cooker atmosphere that comes with service and you have an equation for rape and sexual assault at every turn. Soldiers have a reputation for being aggressive and strong-minded, sending women into a situation where emotions are high and men are trained to think second and act first is dangerous. Being away from family and loved ones and being broken down into a subordinate wears away at any person’s mental capacity.

In the military, power is the golden ticket; the more power that a soldier has the more respect that comes with it. Seeing as women have just been given the ability enter into combat positions, the level of respect they receive is low. Women have to fight to show that they are worthy of being respected. Many are forced to shed their feminine appearances and mannerisms in order to command regard among their male counterparts.

In the society that we live in today, it is still ingrained in the social psyche that women are somehow less capable than men. This type of thinking is heightened within the military and in combat zones because women have not yet torn down the gender biases that exist in the profession.

It is a monumental event that the United States military created 14,000 new positions specifically for women, but this achievement in the fight for equal rights comes with some setbacks. Women now have to fight even harder to not only protect themselves but to assert themselves in the military environment. Thus the fight for equality and respect continues.

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