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Women still banned from combat roles after MoD review.

(88 Posts)
winnybella Mon 29-Nov-10 19:03:15

here

Seems to me that it's the men who might not be able to deal with this but it's women's careers that will suffer.

What do you think?

Malificence Mon 29-Nov-10 20:26:28

I think it makes sense.
It's bad enough that our young men are out there being blown up, there would be a huge outcry if a woman soldier who was also a mother was killed and it would destroy morale amongst the troops much more than the death of a male colleague.
In the USA there have been a few cases when a military mother and father have been on active service in a war zone at the same time, that is utter madness.

It's not a case that women aren't up to the job, more that when they are motheres, they shouldn't be exposed to that level of danger - I also think it's very wrong that teenage boys just out of training are put in combat situations too. sad

My DH was in theatre during the 1st gulf war, it was bad enough that he was out there when we had a 6 month old baby - for a woman to be in that situation is unthinkable.

TheButterflyEffect Mon 29-Nov-10 20:46:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sakura Tue 30-Nov-10 00:47:43

I don'T think women should be soldiers because I don't think they should be complicit in the destruction war metes out onto civillians.
OTOH, I can't abide the notion that the MoD clearly believes that women's role in war is to be killed, not to do the killing. Women should be given arms to protect themselves the same way men are.

Sakura Tue 30-Nov-10 00:49:10

but yes , my idea of hell would be compulsory drafting for women shock

WingDad Tue 30-Nov-10 00:56:06

It's all to do with the whole "women and children first" business. In many combat situations, you're forced to make a decision which may endanger the people in your unit. People claim that if a man was in a command role and had a female in his ranks, he would be subconsciously "sympathetic" towards her, which could cloud judgement. Life or death decisions under fire have to be made in a matter of seconds; you want to eliminate as many factors that could slow your course of action.

There's other reasons for it too, such as the typical female build compared to that of a man. I carry a hell of a lot of stuff for long periods of time, of course there will be many females around who could carry more than me I'm sure, but a woman's body isn't usually stronger.

PamelaFlitton Tue 30-Nov-10 00:59:58

I have heard men in the military say that if they were on the front line with a woman they would instinctively try to save her above other soldiers, which wouldn't necessarily be the right thing. I don't know. I have no strong desire to fight in a war which could be why I'm not exactly up in arms about this. I also don't feel I know enough about life in the forces to say what's right.

Sakura Tue 30-Nov-10 01:26:08

Women are the majority of casualties in war and men are the aggressors. Women and children first, indeed...

In wars, physical strength matters very little anymore. Flying planes and helicopters (as women did in WW2), pressing a button, or a trigger on a gun takes little physical strength. Sleep deprivation, that sort of thing is something women are better at than men. so it has nothing to do with physicalities.

It makes no logical sense to say that women should not be allowed to bear arms on the basis of the prejudices of an officer who would feel uncomfortable. It is all about keeping this a man's game. UNfortunately, the more it remains a man's game, the more female civillians will be raped and killed wiht impunity.

WingDad Tue 30-Nov-10 02:16:01

"Flying planes and helicopters (as women did in WW2), pressing a button, or a trigger on a gun takes little physical strength."

Mostly correct, yes (just about the planes part, if it were a fighter jet then you need to be very fit!). However, when you're serving on the frontline, you're carrying a lot of kit around with you, up to 45kg sometimes. On top of that, you're expected to run when needed and accurately fire a moderately heavy rifle also when needed, also in sweltering heat in our current overseas commitments. I wouldn't want to try that if I was unfit and/or weak!

I can't comment on the specifics of having a female under my command because I serve in a 100% male infantry unit and it's difficult to visualise the situation.

Saltatrix Tue 30-Nov-10 02:29:37

Sakura that is untrue the majority of war casualties are actually adult men.

And strength really does matter still otherwise why would military training involve improving strength, endurance etc. Not all aspects of war can be fought through the push of a button the people over in Irag are not sitting comfortably pushing buttons they actually go on patrols and actively engage with their enemy on a direct basis.

And there are some things more important like it or not than being equal in everything even if the fault is on the male soldiers part. The fact is that they are believed to have a subconsciousness 'save the female in their team' reflex which can not only end up with them dead but their entire group.

anastaisia Tue 30-Nov-10 09:10:58

It sounds a little bit like you're arguing that men are too stupid to adjust to working with women on the frontline. I'm sure that's not actually what you're saying. But the idea you can't learn to control subconscious instincts once you're aware of them seems a strange one...

notyummy Tue 30-Nov-10 09:26:49

Sakura - you are making some sweeping statements there! I am not sure that the Army regiments/Royal Marines/RAF Regiment currently fighting in Afghanistan would recognise your description of the lack of physicality that war involves.

There are two main aspects to barring women in combat roles. One is physical. In jobs where you may be required to cover a lot of ground in the searing heat/freezing cold, carrying HUGE amounts of kit, and then close and fight with the enemy, you need to be very fit and strong. It is indisputable that women, even after as much (and more) physical training as men, are rarely as physically strong. This is because we do not build muscle in the same way. Studies show that women have much higher injury rates in even attempting to reach the same fitness standards as men in these situations. There are of course exceptions - women who are awesomely fit and can maintain the same standards as men, but they are quite rare.

The second aspect is the issue of how men in combat behave when they have women fighting with them. There is some (limited) evidence here, mainly from the Israeli forces, that shows that it has a clear detrimental effect on decision making and behaviour. Now there is an argument to say that men should just 'get over' this arcane behaviour, however how many deaths will occur whilst people gradually adapt?

To be honest, I would like women to have full equality of opportunity in the Armed Forces - I served for 7 years and didn't feel discriminated against. There are women already serving in roles which put them almost in that role already (female pilots/Int officers at the front/EOD officers/medics.) They are all under fire, and most of them will probably be involved in the return of fire. Perhaps it will potentially come to pass - who knows....but it isn't a black and white issue.

snowflake69 Tue 30-Nov-10 09:44:55

As ex military I 100% dont think women should be on the front line.

LtEveDallas Tue 30-Nov-10 10:01:52

TBH, this means very little. Trying to simplify it a little:

Only about 8% of the Military is female and only a couple of the career strings are not available to them. All this review is saying is that females cannot fill a Combat Role - ie Infantry, Armour, Artillery (some roles) etc.

This does not mean that women do not go 'front line'. It means that they do not go front line in a solely combat role. Their 'front line' is to deploy to the same areas as the men, but in their employed role - ie Medic, Clerk, Supplier, Driver, Chef, EOD, ATO etc etc.

There are many women in Afghanistan right now - They are not going on foot patrols - but they are their in their main job, supporting those who are going on the foot patrols. These women are trained in the same way as the men, all can return fire and protect themselves and their colleagues if needed.

They are not going in blind or unprotected - they are soldiers first, tradespeople second and female third.

anastaisia Tue 30-Nov-10 11:12:09

So doesn't the fact that they're there, trained and already working with the frontline soliders contradict the idea that it's a risk for them to be there because they might influence other's decision making processes?

notyummy Tue 30-Nov-10 11:28:40

Not necessarily. When you see footage of soldiers on TV in close combat (clearing compounds/running across fields in direct fire etc) then there will not usually be women there. Male officers/NCOs are not being asked to order women into fire, which evidence shows is where the decision making becomes difficult.

Women may be called out when an IED is found, or may occasionally go out with soldiers on a patrol to gather/provide int or to act as a medic. In these cirumstances they are armed, and if it came to it they could shoot to defend themelves - however their main role is not the same as the other soldiers. They are not there to close and kill the enemy - and would not be ordered to do so unless literally everyone else was dead/wounded. They are an 'addition' (as a male medic or int personnel would also be) and are not the 'fighting force'.

ISNT Tue 30-Nov-10 13:41:14

The strength argument baffles me. To say "women are generally weaker than men and frontline soldiers have to be strong ergo women can't do it" is to overlook the women who do meet the requirements. If a woman meets the physical requirements then it makes no sense to exclude her on teh grounds that she's not strong enough confused

I also thought that in conflict situations the vast majority of casualties (deaths and injury) came from civilians, mainly women and children.

ISNT Tue 30-Nov-10 13:41:21

The strength argument baffles me. To say "women are generally weaker than men and frontline soldiers have to be strong ergo women can't do it" is to overlook the women who do meet the requirements. If a woman meets the physical requirements then it makes no sense to exclude her on teh grounds that she's not strong enough confused

I also thought that in conflict situations the vast majority of casualties (deaths and injury) came from civilians, mainly women and children.

ISNT Tue 30-Nov-10 13:43:07

A quick google about iraq brings this article up first, saying that the air strikes mainly kill women and children

ISNT Tue 30-Nov-10 13:44:21

God it's just awful.

I'm with sakura.

notyummy Tue 30-Nov-10 14:04:01

Isn't- I agree that the small % of women who physically can make the grade should not be excluded. I dint think there has been enough sredible evidence presented on the effects (adverse or otherwise) of women serving in combat roles on overall effectiveness. I would like to see what studies the MOD based it's decision on.

LtEveDallas Tue 30-Nov-10 14:04:28

ISNT - Not sure what that article has to do with the OP?

The physical strength issue is one of many reasons why women aren't considered for Combat Roles. It certainly is an issue - In my 20 years Service I have only met a handful of women that are able to compete alongside the men in all roles - they are few and far between.

You cannot discriminate between types of female. You cant say Miss X can join the Infantry but Miss Y cant - you would have to say ALL women could - and quite frankly, most cant. You cannot change a policy for a minority.

RubberDuck Tue 30-Nov-10 14:08:59

"You cannot discriminate between types of female. You cant say Miss X can join the Infantry but Miss Y cant - you would have to say ALL women could - and quite frankly, most cant. You cannot change a policy for a minority."

ERM yes you could. You could have "this job requires completion of X Y Z fitness tests". What a ridiculous statement!

notyummy Tue 30-Nov-10 14:09:37

But surely there is a fitness test? If they meet that, then have passed the 'physical' barrier. There us then a seperate ussue about whether men and women operate effectively together in combat.

ISNT Tue 30-Nov-10 14:13:58

lteve sakura said that she thought the majority of casualties in war were women and children and I said I had heard that too and had a quick google, I think that's a reasonable addition to the conversation.

On the strength thing - no that doesn't make sense. You say that there are women who are strong enough, so why should they be excluded on the grounds of strength? Presumably there are tests that people have to pass, if they pass them then what's the problem. The fact that few women will meet the criteria is neither here nor there.

Or are you telling me that all male soldiers are allowed to join the infantry irrespective of strength? In which case we are in a doubly sexist situation where men who are not strong enough get in because they are men, while women who are strong enough are excluded for being women. Totally illogical.

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