The Important Role of Women in Combat Essay

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"The women say, the men have kept you at a distance, they have supported you, they have put you on a pedestal, constructed with an essential difference." -Les Guerilleres, Monique Wittig

The struggle for women to attain entrance to combat positions within the armed forces has been arduous. Unfortunately, most nation-states do not allow women into battle in any capacity; still, some countries do not allow women to participate in the military at all. However, the introduction of women into combat within the British, Canadian, Danish, German, Israeli, Norwegian, and US forces has been effective in that women have significantly contributed to their success. This success is the strongest advocate for female access to combative positions. The
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One of the foremost issues to consider in the debate of women in combat is which positions "combat" entails. Even looking to a definition from the Oxford English Dictionary, "of or pertaining to the fighting services (as opposed to 'base' units, etc.)" creates ambiguity (OED Online, 2003). Certainly, the infantry is combative, since they are on the ground and armed with weapons, but even the infantry by definition, is limited to men. Although pilots of fighter planes are not players on an actual battlefield, qualified women have filled this position, which has become essential in more modern armed force missions. This progression from conventional face-to-face attack to more high-tech, intelligence-based war tactics is why women have gradually gained combat roles (Dunbar, 1992). On the other hand, women have been somewhat included on the battlefield. During World War II, female soldiers in the British army loaded and targeted guns for their male counterparts; however, men had the exclusive right to pull the trigger. Therefore, the British were appeased to know that, because of a technicality, women were kept from combat (DeGroot, 1997).

Women have contributed to the military in many aspects. Enlisted females have aided the military within their traditional roles (secretarial, nurse duties) as well as in more recent combat roles. Because the definition of combat is…