The old Virginia Slims slogan "We've come a long way, baby" should also be a slogan for today's military woman. Women in the United States Armed Forces are doing some amazing things these days. There are female naval aviators and fighter pilots, and there have also been military women in space; occupations previously closed to women. This does not mean the "glass ceiling" no longer exists in today's military. While women have made great strides in military history, there are still a number of military occupations, particularly direct combat roles, closed to women. Perhaps, with the recent victory in Iraq, these occupational barriers will cease to exist. For the purpose of this assignment, I will over discuss the ethical considerations for these barriers. But first, I will present a brief history of women in the military.
Women have been serving in the armed forces since 1901 when the Army established to Army Nurse Corps.
However, women would realize full military status until 1944. In 1917, prior to World War I, women were allowed to enlist in the Naval Reserve, but were demobilized at the end of the war. In 1948, the Women's Armed Services Integration Act was passed allowing women to serve in peacetime. At this time, only two percent of military service members could be women. By 1968, this two percent cap was removed. Between 1993 and 1994, women were allowed to serve in tens of thousands more occupations, including those on combat aircraft and combat naval ships. However, women continue to be barred from serving in direct combat roles or combat units. This is the military "glass ceiling."
While active duty military women can work in 92 percent of military career fields, they are barred from serving in direct combat units such as special forces and infantry. The...