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Women's hidden roles in war

Discussion in 'Military History' started by The_Historian, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Threads merged.
    Surprisingly, there's a few new snippets in here.
    "In spite of examples such as Joan of Arc or Boudicca, the enduring myth in the Western world is that men are the warriors while women stayed meekly at home.
    But the belief that women are the peacemakers while men are more likely to be warmongers is not borne out by history, a new study claims.
    Research shows records have airbrushed women soldiers out of history as they do not fit the prevailing notion of men as protectors and women as weak.
    Many examples exist of women who fought as bravely as their male counterparts, but they have not achieved the recognition they deserve, claims Professor Montserrat Huguet of the Carlos III University of Madrid.
    'War is learned, as are so many other trades, and gender is irrelevant here,' she explained.
    Her research found women have always been present in wars, both ancient and contemporary, but have been generally portrayed as victims of war.
    If they have had an active role, they had often been seen as far from the frontline serving in the rear as ambulance drivers, nurses, prostitutes or spies such as Charlotte Grey.
    But history books have often ignored the contribution women soldiers made in actual fighting.
    Professor Huguet said although military commanders understood women were equal to male soldiers, often they were not deployed because of fears it might be seen as a sign of weakness, or if they did their contribution played down.
    For example during the American Civil War women impersonated men to take up arms but Professor Huguet said 'the military authorities were perplexed and avoided recording these women's activities in the camp registers, thus extending the cloak of silence, which later resulted in a lack of data when history was being written.

    'Fortunately, the expansion of archive sources has allowed us to gradually reconstruct the paths and activities of women at war.'
    On many occasions, the professor claims, women were the ones who incited and promoted armed conflicts, as the rise of nationalist movements during the 19th century demonstrates."
    Guns don't kill people, women do: Historical analysis finds fairer sex just as likely as men to fight in wars | Mail Online

     
  2. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    "Women could assume combat roles in the US army for the first time as early as this year, following a landmark decision by defense secretary Leon Panetta to lift a military ban on women serving on the frontline.
    The groundbreaking move could open up hundreds of thousands of frontline positions, and could see women working in elite commando units.
    One official told the Associated Press, which revealed details of the move, that military chiefs will report to the Pentagon on how to integrate women into combat roles by 15 May.
    Panetta's decision was hailed as a "historic step" by one senator and could eventually open up 230,000 jobs to female military personnel. The Pentagon had previously opened around 14,500 combat positions to women in February 2012, but females were still prevented from serving in the infantry, in tank units and in commando units.
    Women, although banned from serving in combat roles, have been heavily involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 12 years, serving as pilots, military police, intelligence officers and other roles attached to, if not formally part of, frontline units. By last year, around 130 women had died and 800 had been wounded since the wars began.
    Panetta's decision, which will be formally announced on Thursday, will go further, opening up the possibility of women serving in those roles for the first time. While some combat roles could become available for women this year, positions in special operations forces such as US navy Seals and the army's Delta Force may take longer due to lengthier assessment periods, AP reported."
    Pentagon to overturn ban on women in military combat roles | World news | guardian.co.uk
     
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Female Navy Seal...ahh dear.
    Is that the sound of the US military spiralling down...your enemies must be rubbing their hands together...This PC crap is gunna get you blokes killed...go do something else.
     
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  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    The experiment hasn't worked too well in the Marine Corps. Last fall for the first time the Marine Corps sought female candidates Corps wide to go through the Infantry Officers Course. Two started the course, one quit the first day, the other within two weeks of the three month course. They are actively seeking 90 more, but no more female Marine Officers have volunteered.

    Here's a Marine Corps Times article on the general subject:

    Do women want the toughest fighting jobs?



    By Pauline Jelinek - The Associated Press
    Posted : Saturday Jan 5, 2013 10:17:29 EST
    WASHINGTON — If or when the Pentagon lets women become infantry troops — the country's front-line warfighters — how many women will want to?
    The answer is probably not many.
    Interviews with a dozen female soldiers and Marines showed little interest in the toughest fighting jobs. They believe they'd be unable to do them, even as the Defense Department inches toward changing its rules to allow women in direct ground combat jobs.
    In fact, the Marines asked women last year to go through its tough infantry officer training to see how they would fare. Only two volunteered and both failed to complete the fall course. None has volunteered for the next course this month. The failure rate for men is roughly 25 percent.
    For the record, plenty of men don't want to be in the infantry either, though technically could be assigned there involuntarily, if needed. That's rarely known to happen.
    "The job I want to do in the military does not include combat arms," Army Sgt. Cherry Sweat said of infantry, armor and artillery occupations. She installed communications equipment in 2008 in Iraq but doesn't feel mentally or physically prepared for fighting missions.
    "I enjoy supporting the soldiers," said Sweat, stationed in South Carolina. "The choice to join combat arms should be a personal decision, not a required one."
    Added Marine Gunnery Sgt. Shanese L. Campbell, who had administrative duties during her service in Iraq: "I actually love my job. ... I've been doing it for 15 years, so I don't plan on changing my job skills."
    She's an administrative officer at Twentynine Palms in California, serving in a once all-male tank battalion as part of a Marine Corps experiment to study how opening more jobs to women might work.
    A West Point graduate working in the Pentagon estimates she's known thousands of women over her 20-year army career and said there's no groundswell of interest in combat jobs among female colleagues she knows.
    She asked to remain anonymous because in the military's warrior culture, it's a sensitive issue to be seen as not wanting to fight, she said. But her observations echoed research of the 1990s, another time of big change in the military, when interviews with more than 900 Army women found that most didn't want fighting jobs and many felt the issue was being pushed by "feminists" not representing the majority, said RAND Corporation sociologist Laura Miller.
    Much has happened for women since then in American society and the military. Foremost in the military is perhaps that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars changed the face of combat and highlighted the need for women to play new roles.
    Women already can be assigned to some combat arms jobs such as operating the Patriot missile system or field artillery radar, but offensive front-line fighting jobs will be the hardest nut to crack. Many believe women eventually could be in the infantry, but the Pentagon for years has been moving slowly on that front.
    In April 1993, the Pentagon directed the opening of combat aviation occupations and warship assignments to females; the Navy and Air Force responded by opening thousands of jobs. Neither of those steps put women in the most lethal occupations such as infantry or tank units. Policy barred them not only from specific jobs but also from doing traditional jobs in smaller units closest to the front.
    That arrangement came apart in Iraq and Afghanistan, where battle lines were jagged and insurgents could be anywhere. Some women in support jobs, including logistics officers bringing supply convoys to troops, found themselves in firefights or targeted by roadside bombs. Women were sent on patrol with men to search and get information from local women whose culture didn't allow male soldiers to do so.
    Developments over the past decade have been a main argument from those wanting more openings for women. So has the issue of equal opportunity and the fact that combat service gives troops an advantage for promotions, the lack of it leaving women disadvantaged in trying to move to the higher ranks.
    "If there are women able to meet the required standard, then why not let them fight if they so desire?" said Maj. Elizabeth L. Alexander. Since 2002, she's served in Pakistan once and Iraq three times in supply and maintenance jobs and is now with the 3rd Army in South Carolina.
    More than 200,000 U.S. women have served in the wars, 12 percent of the Americans sent. Of some 6,600 Americans killed, 152 were women; 84 of them were killed by enemy action and 68 in nonhostile circumstances such as accidents, illness and suicide.
    In February, the department altered rules to reflect realities of the decade, opening some new jobs and officially allowing women into many jobs they were already doing, but in units closer to the fighting. The new policy still bans women from being infantry soldiers, Special Operations commandos, and others in direct combat, but opened some 14,000 previously male-only positions, mostly in the Army, such as artillery mechanic and rocket launcher crew member. More than 230,000 positions remain closed to women, who are 15 percent of the 1.4 million in all branches.
    Hundreds of female soldiers began moving into once all-male battalions, taking jobs they already had trained for, such as in personnel, intelligence, signal corps, medicine and chaplaincy. Forty-five women Marines similarly went to battalions as part of a large research effort to gauge how women might do.
    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been studying reports from the services to update him on progress with the newly opened positions, what's being done to pursue gender-neutral physical standards and what barriers remain and whether more positions can be opened.
    Panetta could announce the next step in the coming weeks, which might mean anything from further openings to simply further study.
    "Yes, there may be a small number of women who are interested," said Katy Otto, spokeswoman for the Service Women's Action Network, an equal opportunity advocacy group. "But does that mean they should be barred from entry?"
    Lory Manning of Women's Research and Education Institute said female interest could be greater than expected.
    "I think they'll be surprised by the number that will come forward," said the 25-year Navy veteran who retired in the 1990s. She said the Navy faced a similar question then: Did women want to go to sea?
    "If you asked someone in 1985 about going to sea, she would have been thinking: 'Girls don't do that and so I don't want to do that,'" Manning said. "But when push came to shove, they did it, they loved it."
    Changing the rules for a potential future draft would be a difficult proposition.
    The Supreme Court has ruled that because the Selective Service Act is aimed at creating a list of men who could be drafted for combat — and women are not in combat jobs — American women aren't required to register upon turning 18 as all males are. If combat jobs open to women, Congress would have to decide what to do about that law.
    Associated Press writers Julie Watson in San Diego, Susanne M. Schafer in Columbia, S.C., Rob Gillies in Toronto and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
     
  5. Big_Al

    Big_Al Member

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    They do not have the physical strength to be an infantryman or an artilleryman. Not unless things have drastically changed since the US Army of the late 1960's.
    And that was before heavy body armor. I have read that the level of skeletal injuries among riflemen is high and increasing due to the heavy loads they have to carry, averaging well over 100 pounds.
    They won't make it.
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    It's the absurdity of political correctness once again. Have politicians thought about the traumatic syndroms it could inflict to both men and women on both sides of the battlefield?
     
  7. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Didn't we do a whole long thread on this not long back? Maybe merge em? Some good stuff in it I remember.
     
  8. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I'm still on the fence on this but just for fodder;

    In spring 2008, Canadian Infantry Cpl. Katie Moman landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, trained, equipped and ready to fight for one of the few Western armies that allow women in all front-line combat roles.

    But as her six-month tour progressed, Cpl. Moman found her troubles had less to do with Afghan insurgents and more to do with what she says was her commanders' desire to keep her from them. The complaint—echoed by other Canadian women serving in combat—underscores one of several pitfalls America's neighbor to the north has encountered in its decadeslong experience with allowing women to enter front-line jobs.

    Canadian officers say women warriors proved as effective as men in front-line combat roles in Ottawa's most recent big military engagement, in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2011. But Canada has struggled to fill combat jobs with women, and those who do join can feel isolated as a result. And like Cpl. Moman, many of the women who volunteered for these jobs got the impression that their senior officers used them only sparingly in combat.

    On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially opened up combat roles to American women. As the Pentagon weighed its decision, U.S. officials studied Canada's experience, according to U.S. and Canadian defense officials.

    Israel, France, Norway, Australia and New Zealand are among countries that allow women to fight in many combat roles. And while U.S. women had been technically barred from combat, they have often ended up on the battlefield in America's two recent military campaigns, in Afghanistan and Iraq.


    But Canada has one of the longest track records among U.S. allies, having opened combat jobs to women in 1989. Meanwhile, the country's bloody experience in Afghanistan, where it suffered one of the highest per-capita casualty rates among Western allies, offered a recent battlefield test of the policy.

    more here:
    Canada Offers Lessons as U.S. Opens Combat to Women - WSJ.com
     
  9. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Lets not lose sight of the REAL issue here. Its no surprise that recruitment has been "opened up" since the phenomenom of low recruit and retention numbers started appearing around the Vietnam days...From that point on, "coloured" people, gays and now women are seen as gap fillers...The "coloured" element has proved itself to be effective and is now standard recruiting material...gays are a slightly different issue (an issue beyond "can they do the job") And numbers are obviously so low that women are now open to all jobs. Theres is NO way the military would put up with this if they werent complicit on some level. - Anyway...just my observations.
     
  10. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    All-female Tornado jet crew describe war in Afghanistan - Telegraph

    Infantry though as I've said many times are a different matter...Although the excuses of the past, such as men would risk more for them..well they risk more and never leave anyone behind anyway don't they? the other excuse that they could be killed what would the public think? Union Jacks have been on their coffins at home funerals already. Captured? Don't the front line medic girls and the crews of aircraft as above already risk that? Its a done deal.

    Fitness should be the only,,,only thing that matters, the rest is pure as I would say...conduct unbecoming...
     
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  11. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    "A historic change has been announced in the United States, allowing women to serve in front line battle.
    As U.S. soldiers are ruled to be equal, overturning a 1994 rule keeping women out of smaller ground combat units, we take a look at other women who have donned military uniforms.
    Throughout history some have been at the forefront of legendary battles, such as French heroine Joan of Arc and the British tribe leader Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, who let a rebellion army against the Romans in 60 A.D.
    Women make up 14.5 per cent of the U.S. army and most countries allow women to join.
    Some, such as Israel and Taiwan, include women on equal terms in the compulsory national military service, putting them in line of enemy fire on the same conditions as men.
    Of NATO forces Germany and Canada already allow women soldiers to fight on the front line, but although the U.S. decision has stirred debate in the UK, there has yet to be any indication that Britain will follow.
    Last week, U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that anyone qualified in the U.S. military should get the right to fight regardless of their sex."
    The female front line: Startling pictures of women in combat across the ages | Mail Online
     
  12. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Specially for Urq-

    [SIZE=1.077em]"A 20-year-old Army medic has been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for treating a comrade while under Taliban gunfire.[/SIZE]
    L/Cpl Abbie Martin and her company were ambushed in Afghanistan last April.
    The medic, from Haverhill, Suffolk, "selflessly" ran to treat a comrade while being shot at.
    "I have never been so scared in my life," said L/Cpl Martin, who was a private at the time. "I kept him going until he was in better hands."
    When L/Cpl Martin was deployed to Afghanistan she thought she would be working in hospitals.[SIZE=1.077em]But she was soon attached to the 1st Battalion the Grenadier Guards and sent out on what was her first patrol.[/SIZE]
    L/Cpl Martin heard a "man down" call on her radio after the ambush in Helmand and rushed to her comrade's aid.
    "Nobody can prepare you for being shot at," she said.
    "When you hear the whizz going past your head you think 'What am I doing here?'
    "But you are the medic so you have to get there and save the person's life."
    'Quick thinking'
    Her citation praised her for "selflessly exposing herself to enemy fire" in order to give her colleague the "best possible chance of survival".
    The casualty later died.
    Several days later L/Cpl Martin helped save the lives of six casualties injured in a grenade blast."
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-21896231
     
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  13. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    When I was growing up, I used to work in a service station for automobiles located next to a bar where the clientele were of a maternal culture, yes a minority in this country, diversity rearing its ugly head(my borrowed term).........I guess someone forgot to tell those ladies they were the weaker sex in their culture as I learned as the hours passed by on Friday I would get to witness a clean out of said establishment on a regular basis each Friday. Imagine a 15 year old going out to wash a windshield on a vehicle to see this happening while I was trying to earn some money to buy my school clothes. I mean by cleaning out they were taken outside and beat until they were down and out. I do not know the reason for the ruckus but I can tell you that bar was cleaned out by the ladies physically. Usually but not always the police would intervene and the battered men would be picked up and taken away. If only I could transport back in time, some of the writers above, they could attend this, and try to gather for their drinks, and intel on or with this special group, at that bar, to learn their lesson in diversity. :muscleman:
     
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  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    It's all smoke and mirrors. Children have historically fought in wars, is anyone claiming they are as effective as a full grown adult male? Yes, women fought in the American Civil War. They were an anomaly. There are in the neighborhood of 130-140 documented cases for both sides. The high end estimate, for how many served is 400, most researchers place the number at considerably less(1). But, lets use the high number. Many of the 135-140 are not documented by contemporary evidence, but are supported only by the statements made by the individuals after the war and most often in relation to attempts to obtain a pension. But, lets still use the 400 number, this is out of a total of 3,211,067 (2,128,948 Union, 1,082,119 Confederate). Now, when Professor Montserrat Huguet makes her claim that: "history books have often ignored the contribution women soldiers made in actual fighting." She is overstating her case. Thier numbers were too insignificant.

    Then she goes on to state:
    "For example during the American Civil War women impersonated men to take up arms but Professor Huguet said 'the military authorities were perplexed and avoided recording these women's activities in the camp registers, thus extending the cloak of silence, which later resulted in a lack of data when history was being written."
    Was that the case? In virtually all the cases women disguised themselves to enlist and when found out were discharged in virtually every instance. Does her interpretation make sense or is it more likely that the role was "cloaked" in silence because the commander was unaware of the deception? Did they fail to record the women's activities in camp registers because of some plot to hide their contribution? Probably not. They did record the discharges that's how many of the cases were substantiated.

    The fact remains, in order to allow women into "frontline" combat units will require a relaxation of the physical requirements. A relaxation will result in a less capable force, because serving in a frontline unit is a highly physical occupation. No one, especially me doubts the courage, knowledge or skill of the female servicemember, but if they are the weak link in the chain because they lack the physical ability, they will hamper capability and result in additional deaths. Period.






    (1) It's estimated that at least 400 women from both sides fought in the Civil War. Lauren Cook Burgess, author of An Uncommon Soldier, The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Private Lyons Wakeman [Minerva Center, 1994], has found documentation for 135 women soldiers but believes there were many more.
     
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  15. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    I always remember the story a cousin who worked in the local tobacco factory told me. A woman from one of the local pit villages worked there, and went off on maternity leave. The day after giving birth, she turned up at the factory looking to work! She had to be forcibly escorted to a bus stop and made to go home.
    That was in the Sixties; what's the chances of it happening now?!
     
  16. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Why not form a company of female infantry then and let them prove or disprove themselves...Forget the mix and match...Even in Brit forces...a trial company is not impossible..All arms and logistics with training forming a one off cadre....What would the problem be with letting them prove themselves?
     
  17. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I cant see that happening Urqh...Imagine if this unit was wiped out to a woman...it would be a PR disaster...If i was the enemy commander i would target these "infantry" units....and im sure my men would...appreciate their orders.
     
  18. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    I decided to supply this further evidence and verify that showbiz would not perpetrate a falsehood so I am providing even more proof like that given in various places on this discussion so please watch carefully and you can decide based on this impartial actor from hollywood... :v4victory: so you see from time to time we go through the discussion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY3oRVzjSIg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uQlB99WCuk
     
  19. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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  20. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    Women currently make up 3% of the IDF's combat soldiers.[6]
    A combat option for women is the Caracal Battalion, which is a highly operational force that is made up of 70 percent female soldiers.[3] The unit undergoes training like any combat infantry.[4] The IDF commando K9 unit, Oketz, also drafts females as elite combat soldiers.[6]
     

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