Friday, September 24, 2010

Women in Combat Roles

This has been going on in my mind for a long time now. In majority of countries women are not allowed in active combat roles. There are various reasons for this which I will point out one by one. But to start this thread, I do think that women should be allowed in active military roles.

main reasons why women are not allowed in combat roles (according to what I know):

1. Our Paradigm: Yes! its us who is stopping women to enter active combat roles! In olden days, women were not allowed to work. But the perception changed. Its basically our perception which allows us to think that women are not good enough to help protect the country is stopping us from letting women go to active roles in military.

2. Physical Limitations: By no means we can discount the fact that men are more physically strong than women. But, if proper training is given and if any women is in a position to fulfill the requirements of entering into combat roles, she should be given an opportunity.

3. Sexual harassment: No matter how many regulations are in place, it is but impossible to deter a few men. Especially in enclosed locations like submarines, women are more prone to harassment from their male colleagues.

4. Brutal captures: We always believe (rightly so) that we have to protect any woman her self respect. But in event of being captured the first torture method which could be used on them is gang rape.
Of course in today's world, even men are prone to gang rapes but we tend to look more in terms of woman's trauma.

5. Maternity leaves: Military people are expected to be on call 24/7. During pregnancy and post child birth, it is but impossible for women to enter combat. This I think is the major draw back for women to enter combat.

But where there is a will, there is a way. Clauses can be made to provide way for women, if they are interested, to enter combat roles. Even women can be deadly, should there be a need. Israeli army proved so. Give women a chance to excel if she is interested in joining active combat roles.


  1. Due to the physical difference, certain problems are there, but if we set our mind to them, they can be taken care of.

    How are you madhu?..felt horrified to know that you had an accident.Thank god that both of you escaped with small injuries.

  2. The debate over women in combat turns on two questions: whether women can do it (handle the rigors of combat) and whether they should do it (is it morally acceptable and socially desirable).

    In a word,my answer is NO.

    As a practical matter, 99 percent of women are unsuited for combat, and that includes flying combat aircraft and serving on combatant ships.In 1990s, Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces studied this issue. The evidence the commission gathered was clear on one thing: Women don't belong in combat.The evidence showed women lack the necessary physical prowess. The strongest woman recruit, generally, is only as strong as the weakest man.women suffer higher rates of bone fractures, and other factors such as menstruation, pregnancy and aging militate against recruiting women as combat soldiers. The 20-something woman, for instance, has about the same lungpower as the 50-something man.The equipment one man carries into combat is nearly as heavy, perhaps heavier, than a woman herself. Average women do not have the strength to carry a fallen 200-pound comrade out of harm's way. Forgetting about combat, some women aircraft mechanics need men to lift their toolboxes.Women can go in to combat only with the help of men.

    And then,what in case of a capture.Can u imagine the rape and torture they are subjected to? Do you really want them to go?I would not let my mother or sister go.Rather,i would volunteer.

    The question isn't whether women can do, it's whether they should do it."Women are not little men, and men are not big women."

    Col. John Ripley, one of the most famous Marines who fought in Vietnam, once explained combat for a largely civilian audience. "A good picture of real combat, he said, is walking down a path to find your best friend nailed to a tree, or his private parts in his mouth".
    Read the story of Jessica Lynch,who was butchered in Iraq,when you find time.

    Women should be spared the carnage and cruelty of war.

  3. @Renu, Yes, I am glad you got my point. I do acknowledge that men and women are fundamentally 'made differently. But, there are a few women who can surpass and excel and exceed all the set requirements for joining military roles. If there is one such woman, she deserves to be given a change. Its not like anyone is forcing her join! She is capable, fulfilled all the requirements which are given for men and even then she could be denied the opportunity. That is what I am saying needs to be addressed.

    Thank you, I am feeling better now. Still limping and cannot carry on with day to day activities but I am getting back to normal. Hopefully in the coming weeks I will be able to perform regularly.

    @Dr.Anthony; Perhaps you have not read my point 2 like I intended to. I have specifically said that, "if", women are able to meet the physical requirements of army/military/sub training, then they should be given an opportunity. If is the key word here.

    I am not saying that every woman is physically capable for this tough role. What I am saying is that there are women who are and can be trained into doing the same job an man can do.

    During the time of capture, I can very well imagine the rape and other torture methods. But look around! Do you think men are spared from being raped? They are not.

    Anyway, I respectfully disagree with you that women should not be allowed in combat roles. Again you are saying that 99% of women are unsuitable. This means that 1% can indeed be trained for combat roles. And, I believe that you are grossly mistaken to generalize that the strongest woman recruit is equal to the weakest man.

  4. @ Madhu
    What I had written was from that well studied report.No hard feelings and I am not against gender equality.
    Women fly air planes,so can do combat planes as well.I asked..why? What is the need? Just to show equality? I agree if there is a need for that. There are so many other ways women can work during war.
    Ask yourself what happens if a group of women soldiers are captured by the enemy forces.There are lots of stories of harassment in the American force itself,where women work.

    If the 1% want to do it..fine.We don't have to agree at every thing. Do we?
    About that strength is from a study among American soldiers.

  5. No Dr.Anthony. Its not just to show women equality. If any woman fulfills the stringent requirements to enter combat roles (the same set requirements which are given for men) and she "wants" to join these services, she should be given an opportunity is all I am saying. Its not the question of need; its the question of "want".
    Don't worry, no hard feelings taken:)

  6. I dont accept a reasoning that women can not match up to men's standards.
    Once the areas of problems are defined, there is no way that solutions cant be found.Women themselves are capable of finding solutions and are brave enough to take care

  7. Madhu, liked your topic and no doubt this can bring about a lot of discussion.
    Women are superior in many areas but in certain areas they lack the exact prowess needed for it. From the title of your blog I can say there are few who can meet up to the challenges you're talking about because there are certain physical this I don't mean that in any way women are inferior.
    Why should we compare ourselves with the men when we know there are areas where they cannot keep stride with us.
    Where there is a will there is a way and no doubt there are women who can take up this job and do justice to it.

    Get well soon:)