“Valor knows no gender,” words spoken by President Barack Obama in response the Pentagon lifting the 1994 combat restrictions for women serving in our military. Although women have loyally served our country on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan–many who suffered injuries or lost their lives–they have not been afforded the same military honors and provided to their male counterparts.
The overall goal in lifting the ban catches up with the harsh reality of the combat zone that women are facing on a daily basis as they fight alongside male soldiers on the front lines. On the path to equality within the military, the new initiative will open up front-line jobs to women and pave the way for combat leadership positions–positions and promotions that had not previously been attainable to them due to the ban.
Alongside the buildup of potential advancements this initiative can and will provide women in the military, the opposition and criticism are also beginning to mount. Questions arise, such as “Can women meet the physical requirements of combat situations?” I came across an article that listed the criticisms of why women should not be given the rights affiliated with combat missions. Critics have the audacity to say women lack upper body strength and that the infamous monthly cycle would interfere with combat missions.
Other critics claim that women on the front lines would be more of a distraction and that the reasoning for lifting the ban is a mere social experiment and an attempt to be politically correct at the expense of our military strength.
However, given that women have already fought and died on the front lines–1,000 women were wounded and over 150 died in Iraq and Afghanistan–have they not already proven themselves combat ready and willing?
Here’s a news flash for critics stating that women must meet the physical demands of combat positions: Women have, can, and will continue to meet the stringent physical requirements for front-line combat assignments, proving, beyond a doubt, President Obama’s statement, “Valor knows no gender.”
So can women successfully serve in combat roles within our military? I am going to quote Rosie the Riveter for the answer, “We can do it!” It is true; women can do it, not only because a dusty 19-year-old law has been lifted, but because they have proved themselves time and time again to have the mental and physical capacity to kick butt.