Affirmative Action and Combat Exclusion: Gender Roles in the US Army
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY DEPT OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
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The issue of women in combat, thought to be resolved by the demise of the Equal Rights Amendment and the conservatism of successive presidential administrations in this decade, is riding the crest of continuously evolving social mores and changing views of sexual politics. Changes in definitions of sex roles and the removal of many traditional barriers to women in the U.S. Army and the other military services insures that this emotional and confrontational issue will not go away soon. This article contrasts the Armys commitment to affirmative action with the exclusion of women from combat roles. Current policies may provide grounds for challenges to the combat exclusion rule, while some evidence suggests that combat readiness and full gender integration may not be fully compatible goals. A reassessment of current policies may be needed to clarify the relationship between the twin priorities of maximum combat readiness and maximum opportunity for women. The answers to these and related questions may profoundly affect not only the long-term nature of military service in the United States, but the civil-military relationship itself.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics