Women on the Frontlines of Combat: Lifting the Ban in the Name of Equality?

As some of you have no doubt heard, our current administration is planning to officially lift the ban on military women serving on the frontlines of combat. While thousands of women have already served in direct combat despite the ban, lifting the ban would also give women in the military access to the same awards, honors, and recognition for their service as their male counterparts. And of course, women have been actively drafted into militaries around the world in countries like Israel and Vietnam (during the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh had a “long-haired army,” women guerilla soldiers fighting for North Vietnam).

Read “Panetta Opens Combat Roles to Women.”

So is the U.S. military and our current administration really committed to gender equality? Or after a decade of war in the Middle East and unprecedented numbers of active duty suicides, did the military simply need more “manpower” [sic]? (Yes, your instructor probably sounds rather cynical; however, it’s also true that the most trying times historically have often been moments when barriers to equality have been relaxed – do intentions matter in the long run?)

MILITARY WOMEN ON FILM

Documentary filmmakers have been paying greater attention to women in the U.S. military over the last two years. These landmark films, Lioness (2011), which documents the experiences of the Army women of Team Lioness, who served in combat in the Iraq War, and The Invisible War (2012), which reveals the systemic problem of sexual assault in the military, highlight to struggles of service women to gain recognition for their combat service and seek justice for the gender-based violence still rampant at all levels of the military hierarchy.

Watch trailers for the films below:

LIONESS (2011)

 

THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012)

 

 

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