This is something that I have been saying for a long time that when women are allowed to serve in the infantry few will even try:
If or when the Pentagon lets women become infantry troops — the country’s front-line warfighters — how many women will want to?
The answer is probably not many.
Interviews with a dozen female soldiers and Marines showed little interest in the toughest fighting jobs. They believe they’d be unable to do them, even as the Defense Department inches toward changing its rules to allow women in direct ground combat jobs.
In fact, the Marines asked women last year to go through its tough infantry officer training to see how they would fare. Only two volunteered and both failed to complete the fall course. None has volunteered for the next course this month. The failure rate for men is roughly 25 percent.
For the record, plenty of men don’t want to be in the infantry either, though technically could be assigned there involuntarily, if needed. That’s rarely known to happen. [Army Times]
Read the rest at the link, but I personally have not met one female soldier that would want to serve in the infantry. I have met one female officer who was fitter than most men I know and if she wanted to I think she could have been an infantryman. However, when I asked her about it she said she wanted nothing to do with the infantry especially since her husband was in the Ranger battalion and she knew full well what it entailed. The infantry is not for everyone.
I was just reading in the print edition of the latest Army Times an article about women wanting to serve in the infantry that I could not find on the website. In the article the Chief of Staff of the Army General Ray Odierno discusses changing infantry and other combat arms standards to become “gender neutral”. I hope this is not code for changing standards so more women can make the cut like what has been done with the PT test. General Odierno is a good guy so it will be interesting to see how this plays out because I am sure he is facing a difficult political balancing act on this issue.
There is already an established standard and either people can make it or they cannot. For example here is the fitness requirements just to be able to enter Ranger School much less complete the 2 month course:
|Ranger PFT||Minimum Scores|
|Push-ups in 2:00||49 in 2:00|
|Sit-ups in 2:00||59|
|5 Mile run||40:00|
|16-mile hike w/65lb pack||5 hours 20 minutes|
|15-meter swim with gear||Pass/Fail|
These requirements are even harder then they look because for example the push-ups are completely breaking the plane and the pull-ups are free hang after the completion of each repetition.
Many men cannot make the standard that it takes to be an infantryman. That is why I have continued to maintain that the solution to this is quite simple. Let women serve in the infantry and other combat arms if they can meet the established standards. I think something the Army can do is explain why the standard is what it is because many people outside the military do not understand what an infantryman and other combat arms MOSs do. I think the vast majority of servicemembers would have no problem with women serving in the Infantry as long as they meet the established standards.
Anyway I think the Duffel Blog continues to explain this issue the best.