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Essay Women Serving in Combat Roles in the Military

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It is worthwhile to reflect on the social and political advancements of women during the past one hundred years. Women now have the right to vote and to own property. They let their voices be heard instead of sitting silently in the kitchen. Women hold jobs previously restricted to men - police officer, firefighter, construction worker, doctor, truck driver and scientist. Obviously, this list is not all inclusive. Unfortunately, there is still one area that remains restricted to women. Women have assisted the military forces as far back as the Revolutionary War and yet there remains positions that women are excluded from. Female military personnel, having proven their ability to handle combat situations and having gained the support of the American public, should be permitted to volunteer for combat designated positions.
A historical analysis will establish that women are capable of meeting the demands of war, having served in numerous combat and combat-support positions. Mary Hays McCauley, also known as Molly Pitcher, fought in the Revolutionary War, taking over her husband's cannon duties after he was wounded. Margaret Corbin also fought in the Revolutionary War during the Battle of Fort Washington. During the Civil War, thousand of women served in both the Union and the Confederate armies, primarily as nurses. Elizabeth Newcom joined the Missouri Volunteer Infantry during the Mexican-American War disguised as a man, and served for some time before her deception was discovered (Valceanu 22). These women were not an exception, but merely doing what had to be done. Even though the majority served as nurses, they still witnessed and experienced the devastating physical and psychological effects of war ...


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...tary Culture Reform?" Parameters. 29.3 (1999): 9-23.

Holm, Maj. Gen. Jeanne USAF (Ret.). Women in the Military - An Unfinished Revolution (Revised Edition). Novato, Ca.: Presidio, 1992.

Miller, Laura L. "Feminism and the Exclusion of Army Women From Combat". Gender Issues. 16.3 (1998): 33-64.

Nantais, Cynthia and Martha F. Lee. "Women in the United States Military: Protectors or Protected? The Case of Prisoner of War Melissa Rathburn-Nealy." Journal of Gender Studies. 8.2 (1999):181-191.

Stiehm, Judith Hicks. "Army Opinions About Women in the Army." Gender Issues. 16.3 (1998): 88-98.

Stone, Andrea. "Navy Resists Idea of Opening Submaries to Women." USA Today. 14 Sept. 1999: 14A.

Valceanu, John. "Women in the Army - A Proud History." Soldiers. 543. (1999): 21-23.
"What Jobs Are Open to Women". CQ Researcher. 2.36 (25 Sept. 1992): 843-846.


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