research paper on Effects of Enrolling Women into Direct Combat Positions

Society perceptions influence the nature of roles considered acceptable for each gender. In this respect, individuals in society learn gender roles through a process of gender socialization that starts immediately after birth, a process that involves transmission of culturally-shared values and beliefs that society attributes to denote either masculinity or femininity (Ashcraft& Belgrave, 2005, p. 6). Through such a socialization process, society defines the behavior it considers acceptable for men and women. It is according to such socialization process that roles that involve hardship and that require resilience have been associated with masculinity while femininity has been associated with caring roles (e.g. nursing).

However, in the modern era, women, following their emancipation and education, have taken up various roles considered masculine. Even U.S. military has continued to hold reservations concerning the enrollment of women into combat positions. Although laws that prohibited women from serving in various military units (e.g. military aircraft and ships) were repealed in the 1990s, a Department of Defense (DOD) policy modified in 1994 continues to bar women from serving in units below the brigade level, whose main engagement is ground combat (Burelli, 2012). Yet, such combat experience is a core requirement for promotion into high-ranking posts in the military (Bohon, 2011). According to Goldstein (2001), the perspective that women can only play roles considered feminine only arises due to flawed socialization process that intends to restrict women to the background. Accordingly, women who receive appropriate socialization such effective military training could assume roles that are traditionally restricted to the male domain. When this is the case, the enrollment of women into combat positions in the military would benefit the military since it would provide a wide source of capable individuals to choose from, thus avoiding forceful recruitment of males who may not remain committed to the Military’s vision, values and ideals.

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