An Equal Right to Serve

(Posted February 10, 2013)

On Thursday, Jan. 24, Leon Panetta, secretary of defense, lifted the ban on women serving in combat positions within the U.S. military. Panetta ensured the public that this policy change would not hinder the military's performance or lower standards for combat aptitude. In response to this lifted ban, President Obama stated that this decision was just another step toward fairness and equality. Critics of the ban's lift believe that this decision could compromise group cohesion on the front lines and standards for physical performance. Juniata students voice their opinions on the matter.

Brittany May '16, Markleton Pa.:
I was only in the military for a short time, but what I was able to observe and experience does give me a little more insight into this topic. In the military, women are not expected to perform to the same standard as men and are given "easier" PT requirements (physical training). I do not think that women serving beside men in combat will hurt the military, but I do believe that if a woman wants to be in a combat (classification), she should be held to the exact same standards as the men. Combat is real and dangerous. If someone is not qualified, they shouldn't be in combat. This is a good step for gender equality, however, because many women service members have been pushing for the opportunity to serve on the front lines. If a woman can handle the training and requirements to serve in combat, then she deserves the opportunity, but I want to make it clear that the standards for combat soldiers should not be lowered simply because a woman wants to attempt it.

Justin Clapper Buffalo Mills, Pa. '13
I do not feel the lifted ban will help the fight for gender equality because fighting on the front lines is not something most women want to do. Naturally, there are some exceptions, and if women want to fight for our country, they should be able to if they can complete the training. I do not think the decision to lift the ban will hurt our military, but it might be tough for women to participate on the front lines. Also, I believe there could be other consequences to this decision. People are going to insist that women should now be required to sign up for selective service at 18 years old like men. The thought of all men and women entering selective service at age 18 is not good and is not going to be popular among today's young graduating women.

Erika Heikkinen Burtonsville, Md. '15
I'd say it's a step toward gender equality. Everyone comes from different perspectives, so adding a more diverse range of experience to any operation, could only help. I definitely think that it's good because it's a step toward breaking the stereotype that men are stronger.

Adam Weaver Duncansville, Pa. '15
I thought the ban was originally made to protect women, not signify that they were unworthy of service. If someone wants to fight for their country, he or she should be allowed to do so. I don't think it will hurt the military. People are worried about abuses ensuing because of the proximity of men and women in the military, but I would hope that military personnel would be able to control themselves.

-Hannah Jeffery '16, Juniata Online Journalist

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