Lift of Combat Ban For Women: What It Means
The news of the Pentagon’s lift of the combat ban for woman made some headlines, but not enough to give merit to what this lift means in the pursue of equality for women in the military. Shamefully, Beyoncé’s lip-synching got more media play than this historic change in our country’s military environment.
We all know that females have already been present in combat, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military ads have been aggressive in highlighting “diversity” in their efforts to recruit and garner the interest of younger members of our society. Over a hundred thousand women have died in the line of duty and thousands more return home with serious injuries, the image of which has often only been given a male face.
However, despite their sacrifices and commitment to serve, because of the policies in place, these same women and their families have not had the right to receive the benefits and recognition their male counterparts have, and which they so rightly deserve. Let it be noted however, that I am not blind to how awful the treatment of our veterans can be in this country and how embarrassing it is that so many have to struggle and wait years upon years before they even see a dime from their benefits – but, I digress.
The lift of this ban and changes in policy which will officially take place in 2016 (why so long??) also means that women will be allowed to pursue military careers previously denied them – everything from office support to higher level, executive placements.
When I hear that so many women were granted permission to risk their lives for their country, alongside so many men, and yet received less to no benefits, had less rights, as well as denied recognition and awards, it makes me angry and I have to wonder why it took so long.
In 2013, in the US - a country where we are quick to criticize and judge, point fingers and protest against others who treat their female communities poorly and in a discriminatory way – there are entire social groups, supported by tax payer money, that have complete disregard for the women who work there and often die there.
So, yes, even I, someone who isn’t much a fan of the military ideologies, stand by the women who have chosen this path for themselves, because finally someone realized that they do matter, that they are not second class citizens, unworthy of opportunities, equal treatment, rights, awards, benefits, and so much more that has been denied up to this point.
More women in position of military power might also lead to a change in culture – definitely to a change in acceptance and tolerance of sexual harassment practices. I know, I know, baby steps, but we should all be aware that the brave and the proud aren’t just boys and men – they are also many of our mothers, sisters, aunts, wives, and daughters and they will finally be treated with the respect they deserve.