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Essay Paper on Women in the Military

There is currently a great deal of discussion surrounding women on the battlefield. Being someone who has served in the military for 8 years and fought in two conflicts along side women I have seen no reason to deny women an equal opportunity in the military.The main reason people argue against women on the battlefield is that they feel that the women will be a distraction for the male soldiers. The people who argue this point say that the male soldiers will feel that they have to protect the female soldiers while in a combat situation, and that will lead to the male soldiers making decisions based on personal feelings and emotions.

I have been in combat situations and have had female soldiers in my unit and I have never witnessed or heard of any situation where a leadership decision was made due to an emotional feeling about the female soldiers. I could easily pose the question of homosexuals in the military and ask if anyone would feel that this would pose a problem in decision making for male soldiers.

Another reason people argue against women in combat is that they feel that women can’t handle the physical demand needed to fight in a combat situation. This point can easily be put aside as biased; I have seen women who can out perform men in every area of physical fitness and endurance. I have also seen male soldiers who can’t perform satisfactory in physical training. The point is there are men who perform above par and there are men who perform lower on physical fitness tests. On the other side of the coin there are women who perform above par and there are women who perform below par on physical fitness.

A great example, of the competency of women on the battlefield, is Pvt. Jessica Lynch, who was captured along with her unit in Iraq in the current war. This nineteen year old women fought along with her fellow soldiers when they were ambushed after taking a wrong turn during an operation. She is the sole survivor of her unit, and after eleven days of being a P.O.W. with a broken arm and two broken legs, was rescued from an Iraqi hospital. This is a testament to how competent women can be on the battlefield.

Women should be given the same opportunity in the military as everyone else. The belief that women are a weaker sex and they need to be protected is an old and out dated relic of “yester year.” I have seen how competent women can be on the battlefield and owe my life to a former female soldier who risked her life to save mine in Bosnia. When I was pinned down by enemy fire and was taking cover in a not so protected position, there were male soldiers who were frozen with fear and could not take attempts to help me, but Sgt. Kathleen Mahoney, by herself, left her protected position to stand out in the open and return fire toward our attackers, giving me time to recover to a better protected position.

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