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The road to recovery from gender inequality in the military and America will always
be a complex discussion. In my opinion,
female service members and non-gender specific service members are not treated with the same dignity and respect as their male counterparts. If
a male service member makes the same mistake
as either party previously mentioned, he is more likely to receive favorable action. This statement
is not meant to negate that male service members do not experience hardship within the military. Undoubtedly, the military had come a long way since March 17, 1917, when Loretta Walsh became the first woman who enlisted into military service. Before this date, all associations of women in
the armed forces were nurses, most of them volunteers. What took so long to get here? Was
it time, resources, leadership, or all of the above? This paper will provide facts, personal experience, assumptions, and the way ahead for challenges faced by females along with gender non-specific personnel in the military.
The first priority as a Soldier is readiness. However, the standards for what the military deems to be fit IAW AR 600-9 are unrealistic and unfair
to all. These standards, along with the superficial expectations of society, contribute to service
members’ excessive dependency on supplements, abuse of drugs and alcohol, waves of depression, and in some cases, suicidal ideations. The scientific build is different for men and women. Consider a male who has experienced a training injury and takes six months to recover fully. There is no stigma behind the results of his injury.
On the other hand, women who get pregnant while serving face hardships, and leaders expect them to recover fully in the same amount of time as the male Soldiers. Sometimes, the fact that
the female body is stretched beyond normalcy
to house a human is diminished. The male body holds more mass and weight. For instance, IAW AR 600-9, the Army allows a 37-year-old male who is 66 inches tall to weigh 168 pounds. The Army allows a 37-year-old female who is 66 inches tall to weigh158 pounds. The expectation is equal, but the standard is not. When one challenges the guidance, the Army’s justification is that male bodies are different from female bodies. The difference expressed is all the more reason to re-evaluate the standard.
Forty-three years ago, women were made a permanent part of military service. During World War I, women who served during wartime were relieved of duties after the war and returned as housewives without recognition. This was not the warm welcome their male counterparts received. On January 20, 2021, the United States experienced the induction of the first female Vice President,
20 Jackson Journal
SFC Amelia C. Alston

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