By Alyssa Evans
These days, it seems like everywhere you go someone is talking about something controversial a presidential candidate said.
During this past week, presidential candidate Ben Carson said he is open to reinstating a ban on women in combat roles, despite the Department of Defense’s announcement last month saying all branches of the military will be allowing women to participate in combat roles in the next few years. Click here to watch Carson discuss his views.
Since the DOD’s announcement, Twitter users have taken advantage of the platform to share their opinions in creative ways. Some users promoted the presence of women in combat roles:
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) January 2, 2016
— Kristin V. (@KLDVComedy) December 15, 2015
While others criticized the potential for women to participate:
Women in combat roles is awful, stupid and short-sighted.
— Benjamin P. Glaser (@BenjaminPGlaser) December 16, 2015
— illesha marie (@coololdersister) January 1, 2016
And some drew criticism to the lack of women’s rights in a different light:
As a woman, I just hope that one day I have as many rights as a gun does.
— Alison Leiby (@AlisonLeiby) December 17, 2015
On Western’s campus, views about women in combat roles also differ.
Sophomore Sean Rita likes to look at each person as an individual rather than deciding that as a whole whether or not a group should be able to do something.
“I’m a very strong libertarian and I’d have to agree more with the left on this issue because as a libertarian I see everyone as an individual. If an individual can pass the test for a combat role, then I see no reason as to why they can’t serve alongside men. I was reading up on it, and I think that it would be interesting to compare an all men task force and an all women task force and see how they operate differently,” Rita said.
Senior Annie Vohs thinks that women should have a chance to participate in any role that they are interested in, but shouldn’t get unique treatment.
“I’m definitely on the side that women should be able to have the same opportunities that men have, but I’m also on the side that women should be held to the same standards that men are. A lot of what I’ve seen recently is that there are people calling for the standards to be changed to accommodate women, but I don’t think that’s the way it should be. Women should be held to the exact same standards,” Vohs said.
For sophomore Jacob Bernado whose father flew in the Navy, the presence of women in combat roles is beneficial.
“I don’t see why there’s any reason why women can’t be in combat roles. If anything, I think that they should. There should be more women in the military. My dad is a pilot and there’s no reason why a woman can’t handle that job. It’s stressful and it requires you to be intelligent and have great decision making skills and I think that women have the exact same skills in that sense as men do,” Bernado said.
With so much talk about women’s roles in combat, it’s surprising that there seems to be an important group of people whose opinions aren’t being represented in this debate. What do female soldiers have to say about the debate of whether or not they should be allowed to fight in combat roles? Q13 Fox’s Brandi Kruse sat down to talk to local female soldiers and hear their perspectives on the issue, as shown in the video below.
So, why not women? Should gender play into whether an individual is allowed to serve in combat roles? If a female can pass the same requirements that a male has to pass, should they be allowed to participate? What do you think about women being allowed to participate in combat roles? Let Women of Western know in the comment section.