Current Events

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Feminism Pages: 6 (2112 words) Published: April 12, 2013

The above articles talk about equal standards that must be upheld for women entering combat roles, and women entering the draft. This issue is brought up because of the ban that restricted women from entering combat roles in the military. In January, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban by opening up thousands of combat jobs to women. Women have been trying to achieve equality in the military for a long time due to the fact that career progression past a certain point all but requires combat experience. The fact that women have been actively participating in combat through support roles throughout the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is was also part of the argument. Women in the past have said that they are just as capable as men in the role of combat, and they should be afforded the same opportunities. There is a lot of controversy over women entering combat. There are many arguments on both sides that defend and attack the role of women in combat. This has been an ongoing battle for many years. For a long time, women were not even allowed to enter the military. This has obviously changed, and women make up nearly 15 percent of the 1.4 million troops on active duty (Lardner, 2013). The articles provide little analysis other than factual numbers and reports of surveys.

Henslin (2012) defines a formal organization as “a secondary group designed to achieve explicit objectives” and a bureaucracy as “a formal organization with the hierarchy of authority and a clear division of labor; emphasis on impersonality of positions and written rules, communications, and records” (Henslin, 2012, p. 177). The military is a perfect example of a bureaucracy. The goal of the military is the defense of our country and protecting our interests. It has a very clear division of labor in that each different field in the military has its own tasking and goals, which are combined efforts for the overall goal of the military. It also has a hierarchy of authority in that there are many different ranks in the military, each one with the responsibility of leading the ranks below them, and answering to the ranks above them. The military is also guilty of gender stratification. Defined as “males’ and females’ unequal access to property, power, and prestige” (Henslin, 2012, p. 294), gender stratification has always been a large part of the military. Women are normally not in the most prestigious positions of power within the military, and until now they have not been able to earn their prestige through valor in combat. By being labeled as a female, women have always found it difficult to have a chance to prove their worth in combat. With the lifting of the combat ban, that has to change.

Now that the door has been opened, we must look at the requirements that are in place for men to enter these combat roles, such as special operations. The requirements to be accepted into this prestigious and demanding organization are very strict. To even be considered for special operations in the Air Force, a member must pass the Physical Ability Stamina Test (PAST). The PAST consists of 6 different exercises the must be performed within a 3 hour period (SpecialTactics, 2009). The PAST is not very difficult when compared to the rigors of training once you are accepted. A big challenge will be enforcing the same standards for both men and women, and ensuring that “cultural biases in the training institutions don’t create unfair conditions for women attempting to gain entry” (Cox, 2013). Unfortunately, due to the fact that the military has been a product of gender stratification, most men will maintain the mindset that women do not belong in these roles. Women have been labeled as the support, while men are...
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