(Image source: Univision)

 

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

 

Women are fighting for a place in the front lines of the U.S. military. A group of female soldiers has teamed with the ACLU to sue the Pentagon over rules that bar women from roles in direct combat. CBS has more.

 

NORAH O’DONNELL: “The four women say the ban limits their ability to be promoted and that anyone deployed to a war zone faces danger.”

CAPT. ZOE BEDELL: “The modern battlefield means that there’s no front lines and there’s no safe areas.”

 

Basically, the argument is that women are just as susceptible to roadside bombs and other surprise attacks but aren’t eligible to receive the added pay and benefits that go to soldiers assigned for combat. The rule banning women from combat jobs has been in place since 1994.

 

Six months ago the Pentagon actually opened up some indirect combat roles for women, like frontline tank and equipment repair. Still, the military says the time isn’t right to put women fighting side by side with men.

 

[CNN:] “We need time, experience and careful review to ensure that we do so in a way that maximizes the safety and privacy of all service members.”

 

Women do provide some unique advantages in war zones. Many serve in Female Engagement Teams, reaching out to women across Afghanistan who often aren’t allowed to interact with men outside their family for cultural reasons. But female soldiers’ options are limited. Only four percent of Army generals are women. [VIDEO: AL JAZEERA]

 

Skeptics point to the physical differences between most men and women and say women might not have the brute strength to complete certain tasks on the battlefield. It’s an argument made by women soldiers themselves, including Stephanie Vazques, who told the Los Angeles Times:

 

"If a guy goes down in a combat situation … and he ends up dying because the girl couldn't pull him out in time, how do you explain that to his wife and family? … It's also pretty much in guys' nature to protect girls. That might be a distraction."

 

One possible solution, proposed by the women filing suit: establishing a single test of physical abilities and allowing anyone who passes — man or woman — onto the frontlines. [VIDEO: UNIVISION]

 

Women currently make up 14 percent of the 1.4 million active U.S. military personnel, though 238,000 positions are off limits for female soldiers. In all, 144 women have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Women Sue Pentagon for Access to Combat Jobs

by Zach Toombs
0
Transcript
Nov 28, 2012

Women Sue Pentagon for Access to Combat Jobs

(Image source: Univision)

 

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

 

Women are fighting for a place in the front lines of the U.S. military. A group of female soldiers has teamed with the ACLU to sue the Pentagon over rules that bar women from roles in direct combat. CBS has more.

 

NORAH O’DONNELL: “The four women say the ban limits their ability to be promoted and that anyone deployed to a war zone faces danger.”

CAPT. ZOE BEDELL: “The modern battlefield means that there’s no front lines and there’s no safe areas.”

 

Basically, the argument is that women are just as susceptible to roadside bombs and other surprise attacks but aren’t eligible to receive the added pay and benefits that go to soldiers assigned for combat. The rule banning women from combat jobs has been in place since 1994.

 

Six months ago the Pentagon actually opened up some indirect combat roles for women, like frontline tank and equipment repair. Still, the military says the time isn’t right to put women fighting side by side with men.

 

[CNN:] “We need time, experience and careful review to ensure that we do so in a way that maximizes the safety and privacy of all service members.”

 

Women do provide some unique advantages in war zones. Many serve in Female Engagement Teams, reaching out to women across Afghanistan who often aren’t allowed to interact with men outside their family for cultural reasons. But female soldiers’ options are limited. Only four percent of Army generals are women. [VIDEO: AL JAZEERA]

 

Skeptics point to the physical differences between most men and women and say women might not have the brute strength to complete certain tasks on the battlefield. It’s an argument made by women soldiers themselves, including Stephanie Vazques, who told the Los Angeles Times:

 

"If a guy goes down in a combat situation … and he ends up dying because the girl couldn't pull him out in time, how do you explain that to his wife and family? … It's also pretty much in guys' nature to protect girls. That might be a distraction."

 

One possible solution, proposed by the women filing suit: establishing a single test of physical abilities and allowing anyone who passes — man or woman — onto the frontlines. [VIDEO: UNIVISION]

 

Women currently make up 14 percent of the 1.4 million active U.S. military personnel, though 238,000 positions are off limits for female soldiers. In all, 144 women have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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