Philosophy of Ethics
April 19, 2012
Demanding a Voice
On November 11, 1865 President Andrew Johnson presented Mary Edwards Walker the Medal of Honor for her service during the Civil War. This was the first and only time a female has received this highly distinguished award. Women have been treated unfairly by men since the beginning of time. Deborah Sampson was the first known female in the American army; she impersonated a man in order to join the Continental Army. (Boise) Although women have been involved in the military since 1775, the challenges they face still seem to be present in today’s society. The equality between men and women seems to present an ethical issue. Women began volunteering and serving in the military as early as the Revolutionary war. Although women were not officially recognized until 1901, prior to that women volunteered and were contracted as nurses, cooks, and laundry women. It was not until 1948 that women were allowed to actually serve in the armed forces, reserves or regular. Before this time, women basically played water boy for male soldiers. For example, Molly Pitcher brought soldiers water on the battlefield while Betsy Ross was the woman to sew and raise the American flag. Women before 1948 were basically accessories to the men at war. Although women’s duties in the military are becoming an enlarged part of today’s society, it took them a long time to get to this point. It was not until the actual Army and Navy Nurse corps was created that women were even
legally allowed to serve in the military. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force did not even accept women until the 1970’s. (Women, Par. 1-4)
The progress of woman’s rights in the military are astounding over time, although there will always be a bias towards them. Men do not think that women are able to function like them and that they cannot defend our country as well as they could when it comes down to physical abilities and emotional stability. The restrictions against women started off in 1948, when they were just freshly allowed to serve, due to The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. The provisions and duties of the women were all on the shoulders of the military secretaries, who were the only ones with that authority at the time. For example, navy women could not be aboard Navy ships unless it was a hospital or transport ship. Basically, women were not entitled to any sort of combat mission, including that of aircraft missions in the Air Force. These restrictions began to flow throughout every branch of service. The noncombat rules were about the only laws that could actually be enforced, though. Over the years, there were many changes to the original restrictions that women had. There were limitations regarding the high risk that women had when dealing with fires and being captured. This seemed to be a lot higher of a risk with women compared to that of men. The definition of combat missions was also reconsidered more than once by the Secretary of Defense. This led to each service having separate requirements and evaluations of women in their missions. (Restrictions, Par. 1-7) From restrictions during combat missions to the treatment women receive after serving, it seems to be ethically unfair. Things are changing for women veterans. A new agency has arrived called the Veterans Health Administration (VA). This agency treats veterans, both men and women, who have a health issue after returning home from the war. For example, many women returning home from their tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan reacted to the dry desert heat differently than men.
Thirty four percent of female veterans emitted into a VA hospital facility had some type of genitourinary infections compared the eight percent of infected males. Before the VA was established, only men would acquire the care needed for their infection, but now, both men and women are treated in equal amounts. The amount of...