Gender Equality for Women in Combat, Or Just Another Form of Discrimination?

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Recently, there has been a lot of buzz in the Marine Corps regarding one main subject: physical fitness. When one thinks of the Marine Corps, especially those in the infantry, they tend to think of rough and tough men who are at their peak physical condition. Being at peak physical condition is crucial for the military, especially the infantry. The Marine Corps has always been seen as the toughest branch of the military. This is mainly for their training. The Marine Corps basic training program is by far the most difficult basic training program out of all the military branches. The infantry school is even tougher than that basic training.

1600242_10152164897211940_553908678_nWomen for many years have been screaming for equality in the military, which I am all for. However, there is a new form of gender discrimination going on. Lately, there has been word of the Marine Corps possibly lowering physical fitness standards for women who want to enter the Marine Corps infantry ranks and become combat Marines. I do agree wholeheartedly that women should be allowed to serve in combat, even though there are other who would disagree with me. This is a form of reverse gender discrimination. Men have to work very hard to make sure they can meet and exceed the Corps extremely strict physical fitness standards. One of the portions of the Marine Physical fitness test for infantry is the pull up test. For men, the standard states that they are required to do at least three pull-ups in order to become a Marine Corps infantryman. This has been the standard for men and as of right now is the standard for women too. The thing is, a vast majority of women failed the pull up portion of the physical fitness test. In light of this, the Commandant of the Marine Corps is considering possibly lowering the physical fitness standards for women so that they would not be required to complete three pull-ups. In fact, they would not be required to do even one pull-up. The new proposed standard would require women who desire to be infantry to simply do a 15 second dead hang from a pull-up bar.

1533430_10152164900151940_1017531992_nThis new proposed standard, in the long run, will actually hurt the standing of the Marine Corps infantry units. As a military veteran myself, I can put myself in the shoes of an infantryman In one respect. If I am in a heavy combat area and there is a woman in my platoon, I want to feel she can do her part. This may sound discriminatory. However, where I am going with this is if I were to be downed by enemy fire or were to be injured, my life could depend on her. I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if that were to happen, and the female Marine was the only one near me, that she would be able to carry me to safety. Lowering physical fitness standards just so more women will be able to get into the Marine Corps infantry could be detrimental to the military and the high standards set forth for Marine infantryman. Women want to be equal to men in regards to the military, so they should be required to meet the same standards for physical fitness for infantry. This will, in the end, foster greater equality for men and women in the Marine Corps.

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Follow Adam Hill on Twitter at @AJHILL_2A.

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