Sierra Vista Herald
Just ask the brave women who have served several tours in these countries: we have been sending women into “real war” for years.
Last week the Pentagon took the next step by lifting the ban on official combat duty for the fairer sex.
The move reflects the reality of modern war, where men and women are often side-by-side performing equally dangerous jobs, exposed to the same conditions and explosive conflict regardless of their classifications.
Canada realized this in 1989, made the decision to allow women in combat roles, and has moved on without looking back. On today’s battlefields where Canada shares the front line with America, female soldiers in the Canadian military are nothing new.
Beyond the realities of the battle, this decision also opens a door for women in the military. Lifting the ban represents a move toward equal pay and opportunity in a field that has not kept up with other public service professions. In today’s military, 70 percent of the generals have experience in combat.
That was the primary motivation for four women who filed a legal challenge last November citing restrictions that prevented them from comparable earnings and retirement benefits.
History has demonstrated that when it comes to any sort of discrimination, legal change often arrives long before pervasive social change. But without new policy from the Pentagon’s top brass, there is little hope for a shift in attitude among the ranks.
Our nation is full of women who are firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, athletes, ocean divers, pilots, CIA operatives, astronauts, power-line installers, truck drivers, ranchers, steel workers and loggers — all dangerous occupations. That both men and women are capable of performing these jobs makes us a stronger, well-prepared nation.