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花旗国的半边天

An Exploration of Women's Issues

 
 
 

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上阵娘子军:妇女与军队 (Sisters in Arms: Women and the Military)  

2011-06-03 06:54:50|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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上阵娘子军:妇女与军队 (Sisters in Arms: Women and the Military) - 美国马尾妹 - 花旗国的半边天
 虽然目前妇女人数占了美国军队的14%左右,但是她们不是一直以来都在军队中占有这么大的比例。从过去一直到近来,妇女都被完全排除在主要的军事部队之 外。即使女性在被这些军队接纳以后,还是被限制在某些职务之内。今天虽然这种限制依然存在,但是已经比过去少了,公众也正 施加越来越大的压力,要求把这些限制彻底消除。

      Women currently make up approximately 14 percent of the American armed forces, but they did not always have such a sizable presence in the military.  Until relatively recently, women were prohibited from joining the main branches of the military altogether.  Even after women were admitted into these ranks, they were limited to certain jobs.  Today, some restrictions still remain but they are fewer than they once were and there is increasing public pressure to eliminate these restrictions altogether.


      American women have played a role in the armed forces since the American Revolutionary War at the end of the eighteenth century.  However, until World War II, women were generally only able to serve as nurses.  Female nurses provided vital assistance to the military during times of war, serving in military hospitals in the United States and abroad and often risking their lives to provide medical care to wounded soldiers.  Nonetheless, some women were unsatisfied with the periphery roles open to them in the Nurse Corps and wanted to participate directly in one of the main military bodies.  In order to fulfill this desire, these women disguised themselves as men and served in combat incognito.  During World War II, the main military bodies (the Army, the Navy, the Marines, and the Air Force) created female branches, allowing women to serve openly.  The women who served in these branches were still restricted to non-combat jobs, but the support roles they performed were essential in maintaining the logistical infrastructure necessary for military success.  I'm proud to say that my grandmother, Irene Martin Edwards, spent the war working in San Francisco, California as one of the first members of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve.  She and the roughly 400,000 other women that served during World War II helped pioneer the way to greater opportunities for women within the military.


      Since World War II, women have slowly gained more opportunities to serve in the military.  Today, women can serve on planes and ships engaged in military combat and can serve alongside men instead of in segregated branches.  However, some restrictions upon women's military involvement remain: women are still prohibited from serving in ground combat positions.  This prohibition is currently a hotly debated issue because the Pentagon recently commissioned a report that recommended that all military positions be open to women.  In reality, many women are already essentially serving in combat positions.  Some military units take advantage of a loophole that allows women to be “attached” to combative troops in support positions, but not directly assigned to them.  These women experience the same level of risk and psychological strain that those officially serving in combat positions experience, but without official recognition that they are engaged in combat.


      Proponents of the restriction on women serving in combat positions argue that the physical strength and stamina necessary to withstand direct combat are beyond the physical and psychological capacities of most women.  Others argue admitting women would be detrimental to combative units' group cohesion, which many believe is fostered by a sense of male camaraderie.  Those opposed to the restriction argue that it precludes the valuable contributions that women could make in combative roles and that it unjustly limits women's chances of promotion and advancement.  Many senior positions within the military are only open to those who have combat experience.  Because it is impossible for them to officially serve in combat positions, women are immediately eliminated from consideration for these positions.  If the recommendation made by the Pentagon's report is accepted, women would be eligible to serve in any position for which they are qualified.  Such a change would no doubt take time to implement, but it is a necessary step in creating equal opportunities for men and women to serve their country in the military. 



讨论:你认为妇女应该被允许服战役吗?(Discussion Question: Do you think women should be allowed to serve in combat positions?)


Sources:

"Highlights in the History of Military Women." Women in Military Service for America Memorial. N.p., 
     n.d. Web. 2 June 2011. <http://www.womensmemorial.org/Education/timeline.html>. 
Holmes, Anna. "Lara Croft, the Navy Seal? Maybe someday." The Washington Post May 2011: n. pag. 
     The Washington Post. Web. 2 June 2011. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>. 
Jelinek, Pauline. "Military commission: Lift ban, allow women in combat ." MSNBC. N.p., 14 Jan.
2011. Web. 2 June 2011. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com>.

Image:
By U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Natasha J. Combs [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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