Megan MacKenzie makes a strong case for allowing women to perform full combat roles in the military and calls the current set of regulations discriminatory. (“Let Women Fight” by Megan H. MacKenzie, Foreign Affairs, 11/12/12 pg. 32-42) She adds that women already perform full military service in some locations, a fact that demolishes current arguments against it.
She’s right, of course. In the Middle East, women have become invaluable in urban combat zones. If Arab women are to be screened for weapons and explosives, female soldiers are necessary. Already, two women, Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester and Specialist Monica Lin Brown have been awarded Silver Stars, the highest military decoration awarded for valor for their combat role in Afghanistan and Iraq.. (Ibid, pg 32)
MacKenzie admits, women in the military confront “a higher chance of harassment, discrimination and sexual violence than in almost any other profession.” (pg. Ibid 41). But, she argues, one reason is because women are not treated as equals.
Whether she’s right about the latter observation, one can only guess, but the military seems to be moving toward lifting its ban. A part of me would applaud these changes as they are consistent with my personal view that women should have equal opportunities with their male counterparts. However, another voice inside of me mourns the dawn of women warriors. My hope would be for women to carve out a new identify for themselves as they set a course for the future.
The Dali Lama has said the “world will be saved by the western woman.” I’m not so sure, particularly if we continue to accept war as an instrument for peace. Perhaps the Dali Lama should have looked nearer to home. Aung San Sui Kyi, the peace leader of Burma, is also a hero.
(Courtesy of zeldalily.com)