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Should women be allowed on the front line?

In a time when men and women now have equal opportunities, with both men and women serving in the Armed Forces, why is it that women are still technically barred from fighting on the front line?

All the Yes points:

  1. Equality Between the Sexes
  2. Irrelevant differences.
  3. It Is Discriminatory to Bar Women from Combat
  4. This position upholds equality between the sexes.
  5. Allowing a mixed gender force keeps the military strong
  6. Women, some studies have shown, can perform as well as, if not better than men.
  7. Of the more than twenty nations who have expanded their roles for women
  8. This debate is largely becoming purely philosophical and unrealistic.
  9. Women are vitally needed for Low-intensity conflicts.

All the No points:

  1. Chivalry is not dead yet
  2. A lot of female soldiers are mothers
  3. Distraction

Equality Between the Sexes

Yes because…

Women have been fighting for equal rights for many years. Yet, there is still a dick stigma about them being allowed to fight alongside men on the front line. Why? Women are just as intelligent, strong and as capable as men. So why should a persons gender determine what they can and cannot do?

In a warzone, however, the enemy are not so judging. Private Eleanor Dlugosz, who was killed by a bomb in Basra, was the first British servicewoman to be killed in action in Afghanistan. Although not technically on the front line, Private Dlugosz, as part of the Intelligence Corps, carried dick out ‘one of the most delicate and dangerous jobs in Afghanistan, collecting precious information, making local contacts and trying to win over the Afghan population to British counter-insurgency efforts’ dick .

Thus, women may even prove to be better than men in some certain situations. Defence Experts have found that it is easier to gain the trust of Afghan women and help in schools if they are approached by a female soldier. Being able to identify with each othe dick r allows for easier communication. dick

Although it must be said that there are some differences between the sexes, for example men are physically stronger than most women, strength isn’t always a factor. The only strength that matters is strength of mind and heart. Women can be just as fit as the men. Their gender shouldn’t have to be an issue. I have heard dick arguments that perhaps women have an effect on the men that could cause them to risk their own lives to save a woman’s. Chivalry is not dead yet. Some have said that although all deaths affect the ones serving alongside them, perhaps a woman’s death causes a deeper pain. I once heard, ‘Men and women will never be equal in life until dick they are equal in death too’. However, Jo Salter, the RAF’s first female fighter pilot, disagrees saying“It’s always so sad when there’s any death at all. Gender isn’t the issue.”

In my view, there isn’t really much that a man can do that a woman c dick an’t. If she has chosen to join the Armed Forces she is well aware what could face her. I see know reason why she should be stopped from helping the war effort on the front line due to something she dick has no control over.

No because…

Irrelevant differences.

Yes because…

As a person with a disability that affects my social skills, nothing annoys me more than people dismissing me out of hand as a potential employee because I’m terrible at face-to-face interviews, when the job I’m applying for has no contact with humans necessary to do the job that is at all simulated in an interview.

Like any job, soldiers should not be picked for the front line based upon irrelevant differences. If a soldier has the physical and mental qualities necessary to handle it, they should be selected. Many women may not be physically strong enough or emotionally resilient enough to fight on the front line. A lot of men aren’t either, it is a tough job, exceptional people are needed. To discount someone immediately for being female is to lose out on a potential candidate.

That women are necessary for the survival of the human race is technically a relevant difference, as soldiers on the front line are so much more likely to die than people performing other jobs, but the reality is that we aren’t short of women, men are declining, and women are no more going to suddenly all want to fight on the front lines than they are going to want to do any other job, so its not going to put a statistically noticeable dent in the population.

If motherhood is a relevant difference, so is fatherhood, and childless women still have no reason not to fight on the front lines.

No because…

Certain differences such as motherhood or unwed motherhood are relevant. The death of such a female soldier would be an even more incredible loss for her family and children than otherwise.

No customer contact is unequivocal to no human contact.

It Is Discriminatory to Bar Women from Combat

Yes because…

Women are just as capable as men because they are strong intellegent and persever more so they should be allowed.

Kings have notably fought in wars for their country. Not all men ‘value’ women, if women had always been valued they wouldn’t of been looked down on and discriminated against for centuries.
Men are just as important in the process of new life. Without men there would be no way to fertilize the female sex.

Women should not be stopped from serving their country if they wish to do so. To superiorise one gender and degrade the other is not wise at all. Both genders are needed in this world and equality should most definitely be allowed.

No because…

I believe that if there was such a demand for women in combat, it would be legalised. But, it is clear that the amount of women volunteering for combat is negligible, and that the people complaining will not at any point volunteer to serve. And, if this was legalised, all men and women would have to join the army in times of war, which if it were to happen, I am sure women would say that they shouldn’t be forced into fighting.

This position upholds equality between the sexes.

Yes because…

This position upholds equality between the sexes. As long as an applicant is qualified for a position, one’s gender is arbitrary. In fact, critics often mention that women cannot meet the performance targets set for their positions. This is rank hypocrisy. In the American army, for example, performance targets are regularly calibrated for age and position. A forty year-old senior non-commissioned officer faces a much easier set of targets than his 20 year-old subordinate, yet both are deployed in an active combat role. The twenty-year old woman will outperform her NCO in physical tests: it is easy to recruit and deploy women who are in better shape than many men we send into combat. In any case, the modern high technology battlefield increasingly means that technical expertise and decision-making skills are more valuable than simple brute strength.

No because…

Women are equal to men in the armed forces, but they are not the same as men. While the vast proportion of jobs in the armed forces are open equally to men and women, there are some to which women are just not physically suited. While some women are able to meet the absolute physical requirements for front-line combat such as carrying a wounded soldier, throwing grenades or digging a trench in hard terrain, most are not. One expert estimate put the number of physically excellent candidates in the USA at 200 a year. While integration of women into combat is possible for those qualified, the small number versus the additional logistical, regulatory and disciplinary costs associated with integration do not make it a worthwhile move.

Allowing a mixed gender force keeps the military strong

Yes because…

Allowing a mixed gender force keeps the military strong. The all-volunteer forces are severely troubled by falling retention and recruitment rates. Widening the applicant pool for all jobs guarantees more willing recruits. Not only does it help military readiness, it forestalls the calamity of a military draft. Without the possibility of active combat duty, many patriotic women will be put off enlisting, as they know they will be regarded as second-class soldiers. And as combat duty is usually regarded as necessary for promotion to senior officer positions, denying female personnel this experience ensures that very few will ever reach the highest reaches of the military and so further entrenches sexism.

No because…

Men, especially those likely to enlist, maintain traditional gender roles. On the one hand, men are likely to act foolishly to protect women in their combat units. On the other, this will take the form of harassment and resentment of women’s presence in a heavily masculine military subculture. As more women enter the armed services, abuse incidents rise. At the three US service academies, one in seven women report being sexually assaulted, and fully half have been sexually harassed. Both these problems make create tensions and affect morale, and so weaken the military in combat situations.

Women, some studies have shown, can perform as well as, if not better than men.

Yes because…

Women, some studies have shown, can perform as well as, if not better than men. In active combat, several Soviet women distinguished themselves as fighter aces-the elite of combat aviators. The Israelis make frequent use of women as snipers and sniper-trainers. The Rand Corporation studied increased deployment of women in all three branches of the United States military throughout the 1990s. They wholeheartedly endorsed further integration, having found no ill effects from expanding the roles of women in the different services over that period.

No because…

Much has been made on integration’s effect on morale and readiness. While the kind of widespread infighting caused by ‘competition for female affection’ claimed by alarmists is unlikely in the face of military discipline, the maintenance of active combat relationships does weaken the will to fight. In addition to the regular masculine plague of drug use and violence, women already serving in the navy and air force often end up pregnant. Up to 10% of active duty women personnel in the US armed forces are unavailable for call-up and duty due to pregnancy. The British Royal Navy has also found this a problem since allowing women to serve equally on warships.

Of the more than twenty nations who have expanded their roles for women

Yes because…

Of the more than twenty nations who have expanded their roles for women to positions where they might see combat, none of them have repealed their orders. Regardless of the issues about whether women are as well-suited to combat as men, they are clearly good enough that many countries rely on their services.

No because…

The threat of increased abuse of women prisoners is a serious one. Male prisoners also contend with the threat of torture and rape, but it is quite possible that misogynistic societies will be more willing to abuse woman prisoners. The threat of female prisoners of war being misused in this way may adversely affect the way in which their captured male comrades react to interrogation. And in a media age the use of captured female soldiers in propaganda broadcasts may have a different effect on the television audience back home, perhaps weakening the nation’s determination and commitment to the war effort.

This debate is largely becoming purely philosophical and unrealistic.

Yes because…

This debate is largely becoming purely philosophical and unrealistic. Perhaps the only thing to take from the grossly misreported Jessica Lynch case is that the idea of a ‘front line’ in guerilla warfare is a fiction. These conflicts are ‘Low Intensity’ conflicts, defined by the US Military as “… a political-military confrontation between contending states or groups below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition among states. It frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies… It is waged by a combination of means, employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments.” The front line is nowhere, and everywhere. In late June of 2005, two women marines were killed and about a dozen injured in a pair of suicide attacks. In the modern world of combat, women serving in the military are exposed to “front-line risks”. People show broad support for women serving in the armed forces, and it has not wavered as warfare has changed, a clear sign that the necessity of women serving in combat is recognized.

No because…

Biological arguments can be enlisted in the case against women in front line combat. Pregnancy is already a problem in the military, reducing unit readiness. However, if women were to see greater deployment and presence in the armed forces, it would only worsen the problem. Especially with national guard soldiers who build lives and families at home, pregnancy is much more likely to be a problem than with active-duty woman soldiers. Likewise, it can be a means of avoiding call-up. Men have even used this tactic during the Vietnam War: Unpleasant as the thought may be, Dick Cheney conceived a child the day after the draft was to be expanded to married men without children. When women face active duty call-up or a draft, some will do the same.

Women are vitally needed for Low-intensity conflicts.

Yes because…

Women are vitally needed for Low-intensity conflicts. LICs require tasks to “win hearts and minds” such as intelligence gathering, medical assistance, policing, and mediation, as well as the ability to kill an opponent in close combat. Cultural differences and demographics mean that woman will be vastly more effective in some circumstances than men. For example, the job of many of the female marines killed and injured in June 2005 was to search women for explosives at checkpoints to avoid the near-universal sense of humiliation engendered by a member of the opposite sex conducting an intimate bodily search. Allowing women to serve also doubles the talent pool for delicate and sensitive jobs that require interpersonal skills not every soldier has. Having a wider personnel base allows militaries to have the best and most diplomatic soldiers working to end conflict quickly.

No because…

The presence of women on the battlefield can increase the odds of physical abuse and sexual trauma as well. A prevalent theme in many nationalist conflicts is to extinguish the bloodlines of the enemy culture, and to proclaim that the enemy is trying to do the same to them. This manifests itself, especially in the different Balkan conflicts, as mass murder of the men of the village and a systematic rape of the women. It is unlikely that women from a third intervening power in this situation will be treated any differently if that kind of fearsome mentality has already set into the minds of combatants.

Chivalry is not dead yet

No because…

Although our society has progressed to allow both men and women to have equal opportunities, it is hard to override the basic instincts that a man may have to act as a ‘protector’.

It can be said that if women were allowed on the front line then perhaps they would distract the men. Men may be more prone to look out for their female colleagues perhaps at the expense of their own life or others around them.

There is also an issue of emotions clouding their judgement. If soldiers on the front line were mixed then it would be inevitable that relationships would be formed. This could lead to problems as soldiers will become more focused on the safety of their partner than on the job in hand. On the other hand, if a relationship ended badly, it would clearly affect their working lives.

Another problem that was brought to my attention was the issue of hostages. Although women can be just as mentally strong etc as their male counterparts, there is a difference. Women, unfortunately, could be subjected to rape as well as torture while in the custody of our enemies. This leaves them with much more than physical scars which may never heal properly. Perhaps women should not be on the front line as men are perceived to be better at coping with the aftermath of torture and death. Everyone feels the pain when they lose one of their friends. The servicemen and women all live, eat, sleep, work together, creating a very strong bond between them. Men, however, might be able to cope better when faced with the loss of one of them than a woman. Women are stereotypically more sensitive and may struggle to separate themselves enough to ensure that no more losses are caused.

Women should not be allowed on the front line as I believe that men would go out of their way to ‘protect’ their female colleagues which could endanger not only themselves and those around them, but it could jeoporadise their mission. Also, I do not believe that women can cope as easily as men when faced with torture and death. Thus, I fully support men and women being in the Armed Forces but the reasons above women should still be kept back from the front line.

Yes because…

Overriding base instincts is what makes us humans, not animals. If we allowed ‘its a base instinct, I can’t help it’ to be a valid justification, we would allow all sorts of bestial behaviour.

A relationship where one person is overly protective is not necessarily positive. It is a one-sided relationship that makes women feel uncomfortable. It can lead to a woman being trapped in a position they can’t get out of and owing a debt they shouldn’t have had to get into and can’t repay.

Women and men work together in other areas without it affecting their judgement, often in very stressful roles such as police officers and paramedics. There are guidelines in every job for personal relationships and other aspects of non-work life affecting work. Why would it not work with soldiers?

Soldiers on the front line work very closely together and form very intense personal relationships with each other, they are relying on each other in situations of life and death where very strong emotions crop up all the time, they justifiably all want to protect each other in order to survive, if they can’t work properly under pressure of strong emotions they won’t survive anyway.

Stereo typically yes women are said to be somewhat more sensitive than men, however in actual evidence rather than a label, it has been proved that women are mentally and emotionally stronger than men. Women do cry more, and show emotions more but psychology proves that this is actually what makes them stronger mentally and emotionally. Their ability to cope so easily makes them stronger in these areas. If you’re able to cope with emotions and stress, you’re able to take in more stress without it exploding your mind. By women being able to express their feelings, emotions, and thoughts so easily they are able to handle more.

Men are more likely to keep it inside, and that is unhealthy. If you cannot let out those emotions and feelings you cannot take in as many and you cannot handle as much.

Men can be raped too. They are psychologically scarred by the experience just as much as women, nobody should be raped, no matter who they are.

A lot of female soldiers are mothers

No because…

And while children need fathers a great deal; the need for a mother trumps the need for a father.It`s a greater tragedy when a mother dies; given her more important parental role.

Many female soldiers are unwed mothers, making the problem even more dire. unwed fathers are again play a less significant role than unwed mothers in the future/rearing of children/families.

Yes because…

Fathers are equally important to their children. It is sexist to say that men are less important to their children than women are; and, most certainly it is sexist to say that the deaths of women are more tragic than the deaths of men.

This is no excuse to dismiss women from their duties, in fighting for their country. A person has more responsibilities in their life than just taking care of their family; and, protecting one’s country is one of them. Women are more than just mothers, and men are more than just soldiers. We must recognize and honer that.


No because…

Please understand that women in such an environment will be a distraction to soldiers. Men have a natural reaction to defend women more than other men. Women remind us of our mother, sister, wife and even daughter. Having women on the front line will affect the effectiveness of a soldier’s action because subconsciously he will be trying to protect her which might cause a distraction that is not normally there with an all men unit..

Yes because…

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3 years ago

Let’s assume for a minute that the push for women to be fighting at the front line or even in the elite forces is not political…but where is the same level of enthusiasm for women to compete with men in combat sports (UFC, boxing, wresting, etc). There are two realities at play in that regard…1. the public don’t want to see a woman beaten up and dominated on national TV (whereas fighting on the frontline is not publicised) and 2. There is no woman that could compete at the top level with a man…..and that is how we have to think about the front line and elite forces, they are elite men where not even other men could meet the standards.

Fortune Teller
3 years ago

why can’t we just allow women to be in ANY role, and fight fewer war?

Last edited 3 years ago by Fortune Teller
3 years ago
Reply to  Fortune Teller

I don’t care if you are a man or a woman. as long as you can get the job done and not distract, slow down, or injure another squad member. If women can meat the same requirements as men then i say let them do whatever they want. But if this is pure emotion and not based off of the facts then this is not even a conversation to have.

10 years ago

While I believe that maybe Paulette is correct – we also have easily accomplished ways of dealing with the issues. If you’re on the frontline, surely your period is the least of your problems. You DO have minipads, or even normal pads, and quite frankly, it’s easy to change with your clothes still on. There’s now small pots held on by carabina’s made to hold the pad after use – and has cleanliness properties that keep the smell and possible infection at bay.
Woman have the right to be at frontline for that reason.
So long as they can prove that they have the same physical abilities as the males (which IS possible – I lift and run far more than the average man at the gym), then I would say there is no reason for a woman to be held back.
Woman also have the advantage over other countries.
Many countries that we are at war with ARE sexist still.
Which means that they are less likely to be tortured/killed and more likely to be used in another way.
This might not be as pleasurable as death might seem, but if you have a love for your life (and your families), you’ll realise that death never has been or will be an option for you.
The only concept I struggle with in regards to women being at frontline is the emotional capabilities of the average female.
There isn’t a test to tell how well they would cope with a real life front line situation.
Simulations are great, but you’ll always know that they’re simulated, and always react such.
Watching the deaths of men, women and children especially is likely to cause alot more damage on a woman than a man simply because of the chemical structures of our brains.
Conquer this, and a woman would be just as useful (if not, more) as a man.

Paulette Randall
11 years ago

I was a soldier for 23 years. I guess I was one of the lucky females, because when we went out into the field I never had to worry about my period. I had a hysterectomy at age 30. I strongly am against women going onto the front line as that is the one thing they have no control over they do get a monthly period. And they cant say in the middle of an ambush or whatever other exercise they may be involved in at the time. “Oh excuse me Sarge I have got to have a minute to see to myself.” It just cant happen. I have seen one of my Sisters have to run from her bedroom to the bathroom with blood running down her leg. Now I would really love the powers that be, Prime Minister Gillard, and our lovely Governor General Quinton Bryce, to think about this and really consider what it would be like for a young girl to have to go through this. I have seen the girls out in the field for days without a shower. I guess today they are lucky because they now have wet ones, and mini pads. But where is the privacy, and where will they be able to change in the middle of a gun fight.
Look I know a lot of the women are just as capable as the men, but yes another thing is Sexual Harrassment.
I wish it was out when I was harrassed back in 1985, and have injuries as well as psychological scars.
A women is a women, their body is built different than a man. Women have a discharge in between periods, its just part of being a woman. They need to shower or bath every day. Just please really think about this Iam dead set against women on the fron line.

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