Women in the military have not always been something you could come across often. However, there have always been brave women warriors that broke those stereotypes. Today their number is growing and women’s role in the military is expanding.
For many centuries there was a wide stereotyped thinking that women have nothing to do in combat. However, this statement appeared to have nothing in common with the reality. Not once women have proven that they can illustrate their best qualities not only as a housewife but also as a real warrior.
What was the role of women in the military before and what is it like today? Let’s find out together!
History of Women in the Military was Full of Difficulties
The right of women to become a member of military forces wasn’t even raised in past. Women were not allowed to be in combat no matter they wanted it or not. However, it’s not a secret that those kinds of rules and restrictions could never stop women. Though it was against the law and punishable, women took part in war disguised as men.
In the most responsible moments, they preferred standing along with their men instead of doing their everyday chores. Women mainly served as laundresses, nurses, and cooks.
Though women have always been in a battlefield despising the rules and bans, they were not allowed to fight and be right at the center of the combat.
Women in the Military Today
The role of women in the military is cordially different today. The role of women has been expanded a lot.
Though the problem of restriction is not fully solved. There are many countries where women are restricted to serve in military forces. Women in the military remain some of the most controversial topics even today. Some people are pretty sure that women have nothing in common with the military. Even though a number of countries began to expand the roles of women in military forces.
This process is something new and like all new projects and ideas, it faces harsh criticism as well. There are different “theories” why women in the military should be banned. Some people think that it will reduce the unit cohesion. This and those kinds of opinions, however, don’t have enough ground.
One of the most groundbreaking steps protecting women’s rights in the whole history was organized by the US. In 2015, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that all military occupations and positions will be available to women without any exception.
This decision was a historical one which definitely expanded the role of women and engaged more and more women in the military forces today. It’s essential for the other countries as well to lift all the bans and limitations on women in the military.
Interesting Fact about Women in the Military
- Women began fighting on the front lines starting from 1700-s in disguise. In the 18th and 19th centuries, people couldn’t even imagine women in combat. And if some of the most courageous ones would express willingness to serve in the military that would’ve definitely shock the others. That’s why some smart women found the solution. They disguised as men keeping in secret their true identities.
- There was even a case when a woman soldier introducing herself as “Robert Shurtliff” serving in General Washington’s Army in the late 1700-s, accidentally revealed her true identity. She served there for more than a year before she was wounded and later honorably discharged.
- The first woman who received a military pension fought in the revolutionary war. Her name was Margaret Corbin, aka Molly Pitcher. She was the first woman in history who received a pension. She was fighting along with her husband. After her husband’s death, Molly was seriously injured during the war. In 1779, Congress voted to give her disability pension in one-half of soldier’s pay and one suit of clothes. Later, the US government also made decision to award pension to Debora Samson,
- The first woman who was awarded Medal of Honor was Mary Edwards. Mary Edwards took part in the civil war. Dr. Mary Edwards actively served as a contract surgeon for the Union Forces. She received the Medal of Honor Roll in 1977.
Women in The Military During Two World Wars
- In World War I, women were finally allowed to join military. More than 33000 women served as cooks, nurses and support staff in the US. The first officially enlisted woman in the military was Loretta Walsh in 1917. The number of women in military considerably increased already in World War II. About 400000 women served as nurses, drivers, and even pilots. However, there were still in non-combat roles.
- Starting from 1880-s there was a great number of women which were already professionals in the military. There were a lot of great women mechanics pilots and even spies. In 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill and authorized the Navy, Coast Guard, and marines by accepting women. Franklin Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt was also actively encouraging women participation in the military.
- Until 2010 women were restricted from direct combat roles. The role of women in the military was definitely underestimated in the US. However, the access of women to direct combat became free starting from 2010. Though not all positions were available for women.
Harassment as one of the Main Issues of Women in the Military
Sexual harassment is the main fear among women in the military. Some ropers come to prove that the women in military lay in 3 times more risk to be raped. This is one of the major issues women in the military face even today.
In Iraq, for instance, women are more likely to be raped by their own army soldiers than by an insurgent. Many women weren’t afraid to share their stories and let it be open for the world. Meanwhile, a number of women still remain silent for some reasons. Some of them have fear of losing their jobs, as there is a number of cases when the men in armed forces with higher positions harass women threatening to fire them.
The stereotypes about women leave this topic still remain an arguable one. Customs, traditions and deeply rooted moral values don’t let people fully recognize the role of women in the military.
Those who speak against women in military mainly mention about physical and emotional differences existing between men and women, which make women vulnerable. However, the history and the facts come to prove the opposite. There is a great number of women heroes which were not a bit inferior to their men companions.
Check Out Other Related Articles
- Anti Feminist Women | Find Out A Group Of Women That Are Against The Idea Of Feminism
- Women Pride! Who Are Awesome Women? The Answer Is All! Fun Article About 5 Reasons Why Women Are The Best
- Early Marriage | Threat For The Society Or Just A Culture? Discover The Effects Of Child Marriage On Premature Girls