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                  the highest-ranking female elected official in
U.S. history, and the first African American
vice president. This event is proof that historical boundaries have been breached. However, this event caused just as much turmoil as it did, rejoicing. It is essential to mention this national milestone because women’s same civilian sector issues also exist in the military. Women have to contend with sexual harassment and injustice when selected for key leadership or nominative positions. Unfortunate situations such as those at Fort Hood, TX, prove that there are still ongoing issues. Factually, anyone, male or female, who contribute to such acts does not uphold the Army values foundation. Sadly, there is no perfect solution to
the challenges faced by female Soldiers or those who are gender non-specific. The Army needs to re-focus the initiatives of putting people first, one of the Army Chief of Staff ’s priorities.
Personal Experience
Some leaders grant males leadership positions when they meet the standard. However, a female must exceed the standard in hopes of attaining the same opportunity. As a Drill Sergeant, the expectations were high. Leaders expect Drill Sergeants to be the standard-bearer and primary instructor for Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.
On several occasions, while instructing, male counterparts would interrupt or cut in while Soldiers were present. These actions show a lack of trust and discipline, and they happened despite using the applicable doctrine. When these things happen, trainees mimic that same behavior. At that point, good order and discipline have to
be reestablished, there is a loss of control of the organization, and subordinates will follow. Not only does this ruin the trust between leader and subordinates, but it ruined the unity and cohesion between the Drill Sergeants. Trust is the Army foundation’s bedrock, and some males need to learn to trust females. As a female Drill Sergeant,
it was as if the leaders provided the position but held back the authority. Once an organization descends this slippery slope, some trainees respond in a challenging manner. They would observe
or prioritize male guidance as more critical. The assumption is that they can bypass a female and go straight to a male counterpart. More times than none, the golden rule was null and void.
Women with children are not capable of serving in certain positions. People assume
that a mother’s maternal will always supersede military commitment. A male is more prone to kiss the spouse goodbye and head to training. Our current operating environment is not wartime. However, due to failed allied relationships and possible plunder from the Chinese government, the U.S. military must remain focused on large- scale combat operations preparations. Physical and mental readiness are no-fail missions. We
are all leaders. Leaders must work together to ensure that all service members have equal rights and opportunities. Ensuring all service members have equal rights and options will help all service branches prevent equality fights and battles within our ranks.
The Way Ahead
In summary, no matter how educated, capable, or devoted a leader may be, there seems to be
a double standard. There are males with fewer qualifications, promoted and advanced over doubly qualified females. No matter how diligently females work and fulfill tasks, some leaders imply a stipulation. The military force should and does shift alongside the nation’s progressive discourse. This organization continues to evolve, and it would be unfair to ignore the progression. As of January 25, 2021, the President lifted the transgender ban. This policy mandates that transgender Americans are free to enlist and not be discharged should
they decide to transition while serving. Army regulation now permits a secondary caregiver non-chargeable paternity leave up to 21 days. We must bond together as brothers and sisters in arms. We must meet the mission, enforce the standard, and use our moral compass to ensure that we take a self-evaluation of what we contribute to creating an internal force that stands for liberty and justice for all.
SFC Alston works in the Personnel Proponet Office for the United States Army Chaplain Center and School.
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