Features, Politics, Security

Toxic Masculinity and Gender Equity in the Australian Defence Force

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is comprised of the three military services: the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, and the Royal Australian Air Force, all of which have been subject to increasing criticism in recent years for being dominated by straight white men. This, it is alleged, makes them, ipso facto, a petri dish for ‘toxic masculinity.’ That allegation has been lent apparent weight by the reporting of multiple gender-related scandals including the ADFA sex scandal, Jedi Council, various hazing rituals, death symbols, and HMAS Success, to name a few.

Some of this criticism has been so strident that past and present military leaders have had no choice but to commission reports and inquiries into standards and practices within the ADF, and to implement various culture change initiatives including Pathway to Change, New Generation Navy, Adaptive Army, and New Horizon. All of these initiatives place significant emphasis on greater integration of women into the respective services but offer limited reasoning other than catch-phrases like ‘diversity,’ ‘equity,’ and ‘modernising.’

All three services are now working toward a target of female representation by 2023. The Navy and Air Force are working toward 25 percent, and the Army is working toward 15 percent. The progress toward these targets, among other commentary on gender issues in the ADF, is detailed in the annual “Women in the ADF” report.

Over recent years, Australian media outlets have highlighted issues with the ADF’s methods of achieving these quotas. As of this writing, the Defence Force Recruitment website advertises female-only incentives including the choice of where to work, when to enlist, shorter initial minimum periods of service, as well as preparation courses. A reduction in the initial minimum period of service makes applicable servicewomen eligible for the Australian Defence Medal years sooner than their male counterparts, and this has provoked resentment among veterans.

Additionally, various Defence Force Recruitment employees have reported receiving directives to prioritise female candidates over males, as well as closing off some jobs entirely for male candidates. The “Women in the ADF” report for 2016-2017 includes data that could support these claims—the average recruitment period for female candidates is reported to be considerably shorter than for their male counterparts in almost every measured category. Past defence chiefs have also boasted of the stern punishment administered to ADF personnel who contravene directives to rigorously implement these quotas.

Concerns with preferential treatment do not end at the recruitment process. Fitness standards for service personnel also differ according to gender, as well as service and age. This means equally-aged men and women in each service are expected to attain different standards of fitness. This, in itself, represents a challenge since both genders complete fitness tests together and are therefore directly exposed to this double-standard from their first day of service. In spite of this policy, many servicewomen elect to continue their fitness assessment to the same level as their male colleagues which is one small contribution to reducing the cultural divide.

The rejection of preferential treatment in the ADF is not just isolated to annual fitness tests. In fact, the 2012 “Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force” led by then-Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick includes the following passage:

ADF women strongly believe that when they are singled out, it makes it harder for them to fit in. Highly resistant to any initiative being directed solely at them, ADF women view identical—not differential—treatment as the path to delivering equality. This is most likely in part to avoid the backlash that inevitably trails any treatment perceived as ‘preferential’…

Despite acknowledging this, many of Broderick’s recommendations included gender-specific initiatives that risk being perceived as further preferential treatment, driving a greater wedge between male and female ADF personnel. Perhaps the most troubling recommendation is the targeted recruitment and transfer of women to male-dominated professions that have less female uptake. In practise, this risks techniques akin to coaxing in the recruitment process if these roles are not the preferred choice of female candidates.

The issue of coaxing candidates into certain roles during the recruitment process are often raised by both male and female personnel who find themselves in roles they would not have chosen but for the influence of recruiters, particularly if their first selection was a lower recruitment priority. This leads to personnel seeking career transfers—which are often rejected—as early as their initial training. Misleading recruitment tactics were also revealed in the Searle v Commonwealth class-action lawsuit brought against the Royal Australian Navy. Accumulatively, these behaviours not only create significant costs to the taxpayer, but also damage the capability of individuals to perform their duties to the highest standard.

Systemic preferential treatment is just the tip of the iceberg. Additional complaints have been made off-the-record about preferential treatment in military discipline, manual labour and work tasks, training exercises, postings, and performance reviews that significantly influence promotions and career progression on a daily basis. Whether or not these perceptions and observations are accurate, the cultural challenge becomes more acute if male personnel suspect their female colleagues are not capable of performing to the standards men are expected to meet, even if this suspicion is a result of poorly managed affirmative action. Regardless of how powerful or influential senior military leaders perceive themselves to be, they cannot order their personnel to believe something that conflicts with their observations and values. Therefore, a more effective style of persuasion will be needed if affirmative action initiatives are to continue.

In 2015, the United States Marine Corps released a year-long study on the capability of a mixed-gender battalion. It was found that all-male units performed resoundingly better than mixed-gender units and highlighted a 1992 study which emphasised the importance and moral necessity of prioritising operational capabilities over accommodating the interests or desires of individuals and groups. This suggests that the road to gender equality has been far from ideal in the United States military as well.

There are many roles within military organisations besides frontline combat roles. There are also multiple careers within the Australian Defence Force that attract and retain a larger proportion of competent servicewomen, as has been acknowledged in ADF reports. Instead of fostering the genuine career objectives of these individuals during recruitment and throughout their career, it appears that senior military leaders and their advisors are more interested in short-term gains in public perception.

This serves the exact opposite purpose of working toward equality between males and females in the ADF, and instead resembles a game of political chess, in which young Australian recruits and cadets are exploited to serve the interests and reputations of senior military officers, who go on to post-military careers in public service, politics, and gender-diversity advisory which has even led to the occasional bestowal of awards like ‘Australian of the Year.’

If the intentions of senior military leadership are not so self-aggrandising and opportunistic, then they are at least ignorant of the underlying dynamics and complexities of gender equality in an environment as unique as the military. This is certainly possible, due to the hierarchical and bureaucratic nature of most military organisations. It is easy for middle-management to directly obstruct the flow of information from lower ranks to higher ranks, particularly under the guise of discipline.

This control of information is reinforced by a policy that forbids members of the Australian Defence Force from making political statements, which was brought to light by the sacking of controversial Army Reserves Major, Bernard Gaynor. The resistance to contrarian viewpoints within ADF ranks was affirmed by multiple senior officers including General David Morrison who posted a video on the official Australian Army YouTube account with the following warning: “I will be ruthless in ridding the Army of people who cannot live up to its values.” After the release of this video, it was found that the scandal in question had been poorly investigated, and ruined the career of an officer subsequently found to be innocent.

What makes the ADF’s road to gender equality more complex is the advice from activists and interest groups with very limited understanding of military service and the complexity of communal living, highly arduous and dangerous working conditions, as well as the absolute need to have confidence in your peers. In these environments—whether they be at sea, on land, or in the air—conventional theories on gender equality may not be optimal. In fact, the military offers an illuminating case study of the limitations of implementing diversity quotas in extreme circumstances. In 2016, proposals to register female citizens of the United States for the military draft alongside their male peers split feminist groups.

Most significantly, there remains an ongoing expectation that personnel within military units abide by orders to conduct difficult tasks, including uniquely violent behaviour. Although the advance of technology has facilitated greater distances from enemy combatants in most cases, the underlying purpose of a defence force is to visit violence on those who would do its community harm. When considering this, the condemnation of masculine behaviour is contrary to the expectations placed on deployed personnel. This incongruity is unavoidably problematic and has led to the disenchantment of many combat veterans, particularly those who have served on the frontline.

Australians would do well to demand some answers from ADF leadership. What exactly do they intend for the Australian Defence Force? How will that impact the ADF’s capability and sovereignty in the future? And why does the ADF leadership persist with a policy of targeted preferential treatment of servicewomen which demonstrably worsens espirit-de-corps for males and females and fosters resentments and distrust in their lower ranks and the public alike? The answers to such questions will have consequential implications for ADF moral, ADF combat effectiveness, and national security.

 

Luke Graham spent six years of service in the Australian Defence Force. He is the founder of change consultancy group The Milked Almond and is continuing his postgraduate studies in social psychology and change management. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeJGraham

79 Comments

  1. Robert Paulson says

    Why would men even want to fight for a country that obviously despises them?

  2. Enough is enough says

    You really have to wonder about the kind of people who think “gender equality” is necessary for the armed forces. It is a biological reality that males and females differ in their physical capacity and endurance. This is because males have a larger, more efficient cardiovascular system, more upper body strength, more musculature, and denser bones. Males are built for physical activity in a way that females are not.

    Why would we willingly put people into our defense force who do not represent the strongest that we have? It’s pure idiocy. Do the officials behind this push not understand that our enemies WILL use their strongest fighters? Do they not see that deliberately weakening our first line of defense is beyond retarded?

    Perhaps next we can have “body positive role models” in the armed forces. Fighter pilots too fat to get into the cockpit of a jet fighter. Soldiers having heart attacks during combat. Why not.

    This stupidity needs to end.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Feminists deny more science than an Imam

    • @ Enough is enough

      “It is a biological reality that males and females differ in their physical capacity and endurance.”

      Yes – as a group. However on an individual level there are many women that faster, stronger and possess better endurance. Have you ever watched female athletes in any capacity?

      “Why would we willingly put people into our defense force who do not represent the strongest that we have?”

      Physical strength is just part of it. Intelligence and mental strength? I don’t know the answer to this – but are men better at say things like marksmanship and other such skills?

      “Do the officials behind this push not understand that our enemies WILL use their strongest fighters? ”

      Increasingly so warfare is about technology. And the numbers matter. So likely other countries are equally going to go through this route. If you stop to think – there are many factors to take into account. It is not all based on men are stronger than women. In the next 100 years, who is a country like Australia likely to fight?

      • ADM64 says

        Many of your points are inaccurate. The top performing women in the military, in physical terms, correspond to the male average. So, while it is true “some” women outperform “some” men, we’re talking 5% of women versus 50% of men. Same thing with the Olympics: there are hundreds of men who outperform women Olympic athletes. Male high school basketball teams beat professional women’s teams. In warfare, it’s about overall limits and capabilities. Even those top performing women athletes have lighter and more easily damaged skeletal structures, as reflected in the training injury disparities.

        As to the brains and technology and “it’s not all strength” argument, that’s a half truth. War requires it all: brains, heart and strength. If you don’t have strength when you need it, you aren’t qualified or capable of fighting. And given the physical disparities between the sexes are so large, the law of large numbers tells us that the likelihood of GI Jane also being a genius is very small. Men have the intellect to more than handle the technological aspects of warfare.

        Yes, one can have a coed military if one keeps standards truly equal, provided you accept massive gender imbalances that in turn lead to women being marginalized. No one wants to do that. Nor do they want to accept that GI Jane will never be more than a physically average man. So, yes you can do it. It’s just bad and dumb public policy.

        • @ ADM64

          “The top performing women in the military, in physical terms, correspond to the male average.”

          I would like to see the actual evidence. But I don’t think this is true even based on what you have subsequently said. I agree the top females in numbers are far less. But they do exist.

          “So, while it is true “some” women outperform “some” men, we’re talking 5% of women versus 50% of men.”

          Therefore it possible to have at least some women match the requirements going to be a competent soldier.

          – –

          “War requires it all: brains, heart and strength.”

          Yes. Kinda my point.

          “Men have the intellect to more than handle the technological aspects of warfare.”

          Yes. In fact I would agree to the point that men are more capable. It is a skill set in which men outperform women.

          ” If you don’t have strength when you need it, you aren’t qualified or capable of fighting.”

          True. But I think many women would come up to the mark. Therefore without really lowering the criteria many women are likely to pass. Is it about being as physical as men or about performing the required tasks competently.

          “So, yes you can do it. It’s just bad and dumb public policy.”

          I don’t think it is. Especially if everyone else is doing the same thing. And you discount the fact how crucial – especially for Western countries – numbers are.

          • Steve says

            You don’t seem to understand how bell curve distribution works. The average man is stronger then the average woman. But at the tails of those curves (the extremes which are always minorities) the physically weakest men may be weaker then average women, but the opposite is also true, the strongest women will be around the strength of an average male.

            These differences in average distribution ring true with all biological differences between men and women, psychological and physiological.

            As such many women WILL make the mark and no man I know in the ADF would bat an eye when held to the same standard. However, as this article outlines, lowering standards for women and other minorities inspires resentment and isolation.

            Also “everyone else is doing the same thing” doesn’t give credence to the viability of this practice. Also the ADF does not rely on numbers, we have one of the smallest defence forces in the world. Quite the contrary, we rely on an extreme level of competence and professionalism that these kinds of policies are undermining. If lives are on the line it is not always enough to simply get the job done

          • “As such many women WILL make the mark”

            Precisely my point in the 1st place. So where is the disagreement?

            “…lowering standards for women and other minorities inspires resentment…”

            Not argued otherwise either.

            “doesn’t give credence to the viability of this practice”

            Sure. But if about everyone is going to be doing the same thing then this does level out the field.

            ” Also the ADF does not rely on numbers”

            Let us hope it is peace from hereon. But if it ever did have to rely on numbers… also I am no Australian and I was speaking more about West generally… technological advantage gets you along some of the way. But it seems to me anyway that manpower really counts. I would probably still take manpower over techno advantage in winning a war.

            ” we rely on an extreme level of competence and professionalism that these kinds of policies are undermining.”

            My main argument is as follows – you cannot throw out the whole female sex out of the army. It is simply not going to happen in modern liberal societies. Therefor the best of females have to be carried along. There is no other way.

      • Bill says

        @Reading Nomad,

        You missed a big part of the article…forest for the trees style. You are absolutely correct that @Enough was giving “as a group” versus “as an individual” evaluations regarding physical attributes; however, you overlooked the author’s points about how they’re pushing women (coaxing) into specialties they do not prefer. As a result, you convert from the outliers to the group. Instead of frontline combat units having female members that are physical outliers and on par physically with the male “group” the Leadership hierarchy are actually setting the female “group” up for failure by striving to meet quotas. If 10% of females are the physical outliers on par with the male group, but you have a 15% quota, then you manufacture a situation where standards must be lower.

        Now, you correctly point out the technological evolution in the armed forces; however, again the quota system works counter to that. Using my above example, they have skewed their #s, pushing that extra 5% of physical “group” members into the frontline combat arms role and depriving them of roles where they would excel beyond their male counterparts — because that specialty already met/exceeds their quota.

        The quota works both ways because they take it down too far. This was discussed a couple months ago in a Quillette article about women in academics/science and how representation was skewed by discipline where some majors were anemic in terms of women PhDs because they flocked to others. The percentage representation needs a context. 15% of the Army personnel is a LOT different than 25% in each occupation within the Army.

      • Peter from Oz says

        There is a lot to what you say. But I think there are some useful qualifications that need to be made.
        Firstly, this article left out the fourth arm of the ADF, which is the one that has been on constant active service since 2001. So Australia does have enemies and they are being fought as we speak.
        Not one woman has passed the training course to be a member of the Commandos or the SAS.
        So in the part of the armed forces that we actually use constantly for military action demonstrates the truth of basic biiology.

        • PeterDM says

          Actually, I remember back in the early 90s, A Current Affair featured a story whereby a woman passed the commando course through a loophole. She was an intelligence officer and, as such, her role required her to be able to go to the front with the commandos. I subsequently met her boyfriend in my Army Reserve unit in the late 90s, who boasted that she was his girlfriend. Having said that, I’m definitely against allowing women in frontline roles, for physical as well as moral reasons. The weaker sex should definitely not be deliberately put in harm’s way — that is immoral.

      • ga gamba says

        Have you ever watched female athletes in any capacity?

        I watched the Matildas, Australia’s women’s national football team, all professional athletes at the peak of their physical condition and athletic prowess, be thrashed 7-0 by a group of 15-year-old high school boys.

        Does that count?

        No? ‘Cuz it was a team of spry boys and not individual men, eh? Okie dokie.

        How about Karsten Braasch, then ranked 203 in men’s tennis, playing both Williams sisters?

        My training regime consisted of a leisurely round of golf in the morning followed by a couple of beers. I turned up on court feeling suitably laid-back.

        How did it go?

        I won my game against Serena 6-1 but by the time we were at the net shaking hands, Venus was on court, ready to have a go against me as well. The game against Venus was very similar. I ended up winning 6-2.

        It had to be the 4 hours on the golf course, the beers, and that suitably laid-back feeling; competitive multipliers creating an unfair advantage.

        Darn you, toxic masculinity!

        • @ ga gamba

          He, he. Well played.

          I can at least match your tennis with Bobby Vs Billie.

          And you can rest easy on the fact that there are 12 year old American girls that can beat most men in a 5k race.

          • Peter Kriens says

            So you’re proposing to fill the army with 12 year old girls because they can run faster than most men?

            Such a disingenuous argument 🙂

            * Expect that these girls are rare, and
            * Doubt they can run faster than the average trained soldier, and
            * Once puberty hits these girls lose any weight advantage.

          • “So you’re proposing to fill the army with 12 year old girls because they can run faster than most men?”

            Yeah! That is EXACTLY what I am proposing.

          • JohnA says

            Reading Nomad, take indoor speed climbing where the world record for men is 5.48 seconds and the women’s record is 7.46, that’s about 35% slower. With a 30kg pack each I’d say the difference would be greater.

      • “Yes – as a group. However on an individual level there are many women that faster, stronger and possess better endurance. Have you ever watched female athletes in any capacity?”

        Then why 25% quota??

      • peanut galelry says

        Yeah, the female athletes aren’t as fast or strong as the male version. Blame biology.

        The war stuff makes sense if you don’t know anything about making war. Maybe it’ll all be robots in 100 years, (I hope not) but right now burly dudes with guns on the ground are ultimately still required. Air Power can’t stand alone.

      • Jeremy Smith says

        “However on an individual level there are many women that faster, stronger and possess better endurance. Have you ever watched female athletes in any capacity?”

        But all the elite Male athletes far out perform elite female altheles, that why they dont compete together because men would win 99% of the time. Men by and large are like for like physically more robust and powerful than women. There will never be a female SASR operator because they simply can not reach the minimum standard. With a 80% plus failure rate of the best of the australian military most men can’t.

        “Physical strength is just part of it. Intelligence and mental strength? I don’t know the answer to this – but are men better at say things like marksmanship and other such skills?”
        Did you miss this part of the article? Or did you just ignored it because it directly opposes your ideology?

        In 2015, the United States Marine Corps released a year-long study on the capability of a mixed-gender battalion. It was found that all-male units performed resoundingly better than mixed-gender units and highlighted a 1992 study which emphasised the importance and moral necessity of prioritising operational capabilities over accommodating the interests or desires of individuals and groups

        “.Increasingly so warfare is about technology. And the numbers matter. So likely other countries are equally going to go through this route. If you stop to think – there are many factors to take into account. It is not all based on men are stronger than women. In the next 100 years, who is a country like Australia likely to fight?”

        You missed this part as well.

        What makes the ADF’s road to gender equality more complex is the advice from activists and interest groups with very limited understanding of military service and the complexity of communal living, highly arduous and dangerous working conditions, as well as the absolute need to have confidence in your peers. In these environments—whether they be at sea, on land, or in the air—conventional theories on gender equality may not be optimal.

        Please stop you dont have any idea what you are talking about. As for who are we going to fight in the next 100years? No idea, do you know? We’ll both be long dead but sure considering the foolish things you have said I’m sure you would know.

    • Paul Ellis says

      “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” For armed services, those ‘other means’ are controlled and directed effective military violence. It is the credible threat of being able to impose controlled and directed military violence that should prevent politics having to resort to other means in the first place, hence: “If you want peace, prepare for war.”

      Women can be militarily effective. The picture shows a woman in the cockpit of a Hercules transport plane. Civil aviation has shown us that women can be efficient and effective in almost all associated functions, from tech and engineering to logistics, flying, admin, marketing and CEO. As a taxpayer I would be quite content if military transport aviation were staffed entirely by women, because I’m sure they can be militarily effective in all the required rôles.

      Combat flying is a different matter, because fighter pilots must be physically strong and fit to withstand the gravitational stresses of air combat manoeuvring. There are some excellent female fighter pilots, and under some conditions women can endure greater gravitational stress than men, but from the viewpoint of pure military effectiveness I would be surprised if women ever achieve equity as fighter pilots.

      Until they are actively engaged in defence, armed forces are a total cost to the taxpayers in a society, and those taxpayers have a right to demand the most militarily efficient and effective armed forces for the least cost. Therefore, armed forces’ leaders should be entirely concerned with the provision of the most cost-efficient and militarily effective forces possible within the available budget. There should be no other considerations.

      There should certainly be no consideration of meeting arbitrary quotas by coercing women into functions they’d rather not do which, with few exceptions, can be carried out more effectively by men, because the result must be less than optimal military effectiveness. Military commanders who place quotas above military effectiveness undermine the potential of the forces for which they are responsible, and squander tax revenue by providing less effective armed forces than would otherwise be available. Personally, I would regard any military leader who places quotas above military effectiveness to be treasonous.

      I also wonder about PMT. We hear innumerable stories of women who claim their functionality is impaired by it. It’s predictable, and I suppose is normally dealt with by rostering, but what happens during a military emergency? Is this one of the reasons why those sections of Australia’s armed forces which are actually on active service – the special forces – are entirely male?

      As for humanitarian work, the other modern rôle of armed forces, it can be effective exercise for the transport, logistics, and engineering sections but it doesn’t follow that a soldier trained primarily to be an efficient and effective imposer of military violence is best placed to be a humanitarian worker.

      Last, should there be armed forces? Pacifists and many Millennials seem to think there shouldn’t. In time, Millennials will become the majority in the demos, and should be able to elect a government that will dispense with armed forces. I suspect that won’t happen because as they age and their life experience disillusions them, by and large they’ll come to recognise, as did their predecessors, that armed forces are an unfortunate necessity. So, if you must have them, have the smallest, cheapest, most effective armed forces you possibly can, which reinforces my argument. That means no quotas.

  3. Gregory Bogosian says

    Here is the more interesting question. Are the people accusing the military of fostering toxic masculinity right? Is there any reason to think that there will be fewer sex-related scandals if there were more women in the armed forces? If so, does that mean that men are just inherently more prone to anti-social behavior than women are? If that is not the case, then why is adding more women to the military the solution?

    • The ‘toxic masculinity’ charge seems to relate to people sharing emails talking about sex with women (“explicit, derogatory, demeaning and repugnant”) and including images or video, some of it taken without the woman’s consent; having sex in public (with the woman’s consent, I think), hazing and bullying, and imagery associated with death. I expect a lot of it is to do with bonding, toughness, and trust, in the knowledge that the participants are likely at some stage to be in situations where they will depend on each other for their lives. Images of death are obviously associated with the fact that defence personnel are trained to kill and may be deployed in situations where they’re required to kill people. The sex thing is no doubt partly prompted by those kinds of motivations as well. The terms “derogatory” and “demeaning” could no doubt be applied to the hazing and bullying rituals carried out among males, but anything involving heterosexual sex is viewed through a gender ideology lens.

      I gather the idea of recruiting more women, if it has a rational justification related to ‘toxic masculinity’ other than appealing to political correctness, would be that women are less likely to engage in such practices. Personally, I think that’s unlikely. If female defence personnel are required to kill and to risk being killed as male defence personnel are, I suspect that a similar culture would arise. Note that the activities described above are not the only thing people in the defence forces do – there are no doubt other ways that they bond and learn to be able to rely on one another. Whether it’s possible or desirable to eliminate those kinds of activities while still training people to kill and be killed, I don’t know.

      • Gregory Bogosian says

        1. Taking sexual videos of a woman without her consent is categorically wrong. But I don’t see how adding more women makes it less likely to happen. 2. Anyone who thinks that people who do not enjoy sex, hazing, bullying, and imagery of death would join the armed forces really doesn’t know how people work. If you have no interest in violence, cruelty, and base human urges, but you still want to serve your country, then it makes more sense to be a math teacher than a soldier.

      • Bill says

        Interesting. So 2 heterosexual males sharing pictures of naked women = bad, but 2 homosexuals discussing their sexual desires = good? And here I thought don’t ask/don’t tell was a bad thing because it was about keeping sexual orientation and discussion out of the military workplace. I know, my points are centered on US military policy up until recently, but it applies to some of the discussions here about the ADF and “toxic masculinity.” I think they mean “toxic heterosexual masculinity” because “toxic homosexual masculinity” is acceptable.

  4. Aaron says

    Same situation exists in many professions. In the police services, females who barely passed the assessment are inducted ahead of males who scored highly in order to meet a quota.

  5. Mark says

    This is complete madness. Australia has lost the plot. I’m sure armed forces outside the West are rubbing their hands in glee. Why try to invade a country when it’s weakening itself every day through radical leftwing ideology?

    This is happening in other areas of Australia. In Sydney, the physical requirements to become a fireman have been lowered to allow more women, thereby endangering Australians. When my apartment is on fire, I want to see the manliest bloke in the world, capable of risking himself to save my life. I want him to be in peak condition, as strong as possible. I do not want the physical requirements lowered — thereby placing me in more danger — for some ideological game.

    We (the West) have utterly lost sight of what these men are there to do: Protect us. More specifically, protect women and children first through the sacrifice of men. Unsurprisingly, men are stronger, faster, have better reflexes, and are on average more aggressive than women. This makes us more effective at, strangely enough, defending, fighting, and rescuing.

    If women can make the cut, then so be it. But we won’t get equity, equality of outcome. How have we got to the point at which we so obviously favour women over men?

    There are plenty of professions absolutely dominated by women — nursing, teaching, psychology, HR, etc. etc. Why is there no push to have more men in those professions? I work in STEM, and I can barely open LinkedIn without being bombarded with claims of “toxic masculinity”, “the gender pay gap”, “the lack of women in “, the lack of women on boards/panels. I’ve never ending.

    In every single claim, men are to blame. Women — and their whiteknight soyboys — never consider that women make their own choices because of their orientation in the world. It’s always down to one factor: Men. Women choice to do lower paying jobs? That’s because of men oppressing them. Women don’t want to work incredibly long hours to get to the top of their profession? That’s men’s fault, collectively. Want to drop out of the workforce to have a child? That’s men keeping you down when you return, the industry having left you behind.

    (Good to see some Aussie content; I do often get tired of reading about the USA.)

  6. @ Mark

    “When my apartment is on fire, I want to see the manliest bloke in the world, capable of risking himself to save my life. I want him to be in peak condition, as strong as possible.”

    Physicality matter – no one is going to deny that. However, after a certain level, I’d take brains over brawn. I don’t know the answer – but I am willing to bet the smartest make the better firemen and etc. Under such tough situations how you deal under pressure really matters.

    • ADM64 says

      No argument that intelligence matters, however if a fireman can’t carry someone out of a fire, how smart they are is irrelevant.

      I’m curious, though, why so many people making the brains argument seem to think this gives women a leg up. Firemen and soldiers are not dumb, indeed good ones are pretty smart. Since men and women differ less intellectually than physically, why assume the really smart ones would be women?

      As to ability to handle stress and pressure, that’s a legitimate point. I’d note though that women veterans suffer PTSD at 2-4x the rate of men. Hormonal differences between the sexes explain a lot of the physiological response to stress, just like they do differences in aggressiveness. Yes, there are exceptions, however it isn’t wise to make public policy based on exceptions.

      • @ ADM64

        “however if a fireman can’t carry someone out of a fire, how smart they are is irrelevant.”

        Yes. But no one is discounting physicality and the ability to do the required job. Rather – there is more to it than just physicality.

        – –

        “why so many people making the brains argument seem to think this gives women a leg up”

        Fair point. It doesn’t. However my points were to counter against the whole argument based around physicality alone. Other factors beside strength do matter.

        And does women’s strength have to be measured against men or should it be relative to having enough physicality to actually complete the required tasks.

        “Firemen and soldiers are not dumb, indeed good ones are pretty smart.”

        Relatively speaking – er no. I don’t think basic soldiering is a high IQ job. Stand to be corrected though.

        “Yes, there are exceptions, however it isn’t wise to make public policy based on exceptions.”

        Well when you say “exceptions” – how big are they? Are talking about thousands or hundreds?

        I don’t think – in this day and age – discounting women based on ‘physical differences between men and women’ makes for good policy either.

        • ccscientist says

          But people are discounting physicality by lowering the standards for female fire-fighters.

    • Andrew_W says

      Reading Nomad, are you arguing for quotas or are you just supporting equality of opportunity?

    • Mark says

      @Reading Nomad

      The NSW fire brigade require all applicants to have a Higher School Certificate (i.e., they graduated from high school). Likewise, they have additional cognitive and emotional tests further in the application process.

      Therefore, it’s safe to assume that all firemen have the required level of intelligence to do the job adequately. For this type of work, only a certain level of intelligence would actually be required. I don’t need the bloke to ace a Mensa test; I want him to be able to carry me to safety.

      I’d take the manliest bloke in the world over a woman to safe my life. Every. Day. Anyone with any sense would.

      I have no doubt that female police officers are great at negotiating, especially with angry men who will not physically attack them (on average). I have no doubt that they bring a great deal to the police.

      However, clearly firemen must be able to lift and carry much heavier objects and people in order to do their job. Lowering the physical standards is a public safety issue.

      • @ Mark

        “…have the required level of intelligence to do the job adequately.”

        That is not in dispute.

        “I’d take the manliest bloke in the world over a woman to safe my life. Every. Day. Anyone with any sense would. ”

        Yeah: “manliest”? So how many blokes are the manliest? It surely cannot be all of them. Do prime athletes even head for such jobs? No. You pick the best that apply. So in that regard…. it evens out the field to some extent. If I need rescuing – I’d take anyone halfway competent that is willing to lend a hand. I’ll let you sit there and wait for the manliest.

        “Lowering the physical standards is a public safety issue.”

        Yes, it can be. But there is no evidence to state that there aren’t women able to meet this standard… as it is happening all over the world.

        • peanut gallery says

          @ reading nomad
          Yes, a few women can get ripped and lift heavy. What’s your point? Sure, let them do it they can. Most women cannot get swole though. After reading you comments I feel like you essentially agree with the people talking to you, but you seem to think there’s a disagreement…. I’m a little confused. I don’t think anyone is saying not to let a woman do something if they are actually capable. It’s is just more likely that more men will be able to carry my ass out of a building. On average. And there’s more to combat than marksmanship. There’s a lot of physicality to being in combat and hand-to-hand combat isn’t completely out of the question, especially in city fighting where a dude could be waiting just around the corner.

          I saw one woman when I was stationed in Japan, I think she and her husband were trainers at the base gym. She was huge and he was a mountain. I assumed that if they had children they would form a super-hero team of all Mr. Incredibles. But she was clearly genetically predisposed to being able to put on muscle. Few women I have seen in my life look like they could be that woman. She is an outlier. She could probably carry two of me out of the burning building… while two dragging two tires tied to her waist. You can’t get an equal representation by counting on a small % of the populace.

          • @ peanut gallery

            I’ll spell it out for you and for anyone else.

            There are women, yes lesser than men, who can carry out such tasks effectively.

            In our modern liberal societies banning women from these jobs is impossible and wrong.

            Therefore one has to find effective solutions around the issue.

            – –

            Do I agree to quotas and allowing people without sufficient merit? No.

      • ccscientist says

        Police women don’t just negotiate. They must be able to subdue criminals to arrest them. There is a viral video of 3 female cops in Europe somewhere who are trying to arrest a guy, and he just keeps shrugging them off they they merely annoy him. This keeps up until some male officers arrive. 3. The inability to handle male suspects is not a joke.

    • ga gamba says

      Zoinks! I’s a pity men aren’t as intelligent as women. They just have their physical strength but can’t figure things out. Think of all those needless deaths due to panicky strong men running around willy nilly.

      “So, who’s going to drag my incapacitated body out of this burning building?”

      “I’m thinking about it. Rest assured, I’m doing so calmly. Calmness and composure under pressure are feminine virtues, ya know. And I really don’t appreciate what you’re implying. I’ll have to file a grievance against you with the anti-bias response team. Can’t have a wounded man doubting women’s abilities and shaking our confidence. In my Famous Feminists in Firefighting class I learnt that at the Twin Towers on 11 September of the 343 firefighters who were murdered that day, all 343 were men. This proves female firefighters were too smart to die. But you know who the media honours? The dead male firefighters, which whitewashes the sacrifices made by women that day. It’s just like in war, where women are the primary victims. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. But you don’t see any documentaries about the victimised women at home, do you? Nope. They just get a flag. Can you imagine all the pain female firefighters felt attending all those funerals? That’s the real tragedy of 9/11.”

      Anti-bias response team arrives in the burning building.

      “How has this burning man oppressed you? The physical strength thing, right? Do you require a counselor? We’ll call one in right now. Whilst we’re waiting, we’re here to listen and believe you, and provide to you solidarity empathically.”

      Good to know everyone has their priorities straight.

      • @ ga gamba

        Now, now. No one even hinted at men having lower IQ. You cannot go around making things up. Rather the fact that in such jobs, physicality is not the only factor.

        And same goes for working under pressure.

        Women can at least match males in those and are at least adequate in carrying out their physical tasks. So it is wholesale ruling them out that is under discussion.

        Therefore men’s intelligence or ability to work under pressure wasn’t in question.

        You can post such dishonest nonsense all you want… but the point still remains…. there are many women capable of doing such jobs and in modern society cannot be ruled out completely.

        • ga gamba says

          Physicality matter – no one is going to deny that. However, after a certain level, I’d take brains over brawn.

          This was your reply to “I want to see the manliest bloke in the world.”

          No one even hinted at men having lower IQ.

          You more than hinted at it. In the conversation you defended and rationalised women’s physical shortcomings by mentioning intelligence.

          You even conceded the point to ADM64.

          In an equality-of-opportunity situation, which you say you support, those who pass the cognitive and emotional tests also have to pass the physical test. The standards are lower for female applicants. Why? Do they only attend to a portion of the public? “Excuse me, for us to dispatch the correct firefighters, please describe the size and weight of all who are involved. Oh, you don’t know that? Hmmm …. what to do?” Given that people are heavier than ever, and dragging and carrying them is part of the job, employing those who are most physically fit, which includes strength, is mandated. Lowering requirements increases the likelihood of consequences, such as failure to rescue a victim. Is this the service the taxpayer funds?

          Almost all jobs don’t have a physical requirement. But those that do have legitimate reasons for it. These also exclude men who don’t meet the standard. We don’t have the 98-pound weakling-man standard to get more of them in the fire brigade. We don’t have the obese-man standard to put those who weigh 300 kilograms in the infantry. There are even height requirements; you can be too tall to be assigned to a submarine.

          • ga gamba

            This was your reply to “I want to see the manliest bloke in the world.”

            Yes it was and…?

            “You more than hinted at it. In the conversation you defended and rationalised women’s physical shortcomings by mentioning intelligence. ”

            Incorrect. And this is dishonest and you know it is too. Women are not more intelligent – in fact – opposite used to be the case until it wasn’t. So no. There is no such hint.

            Rather as I have repeatedly said – these jobs are NOT all about physicality. And it is NOT about being the manliest. So how many men are the “manliest”? Different races?

            – –

            “The standards are lower for female applicants.”

            They shouldn’t be.

            – –

            “Almost all jobs don’t have a physical requirement. But those that do have legitimate reasons for it. ”

            I am fine with this. I have already stated it. However there is NO in this day and age to exclude women purely based on sex.

            – –

            “Do they only attend to a portion of the public? “Excuse me, for us to dispatch the correct firefighters, please describe the size and weight of all who are involved. Oh, you don’t know that?”

            Given the people that apply – it is fairly likely there are plenty of women that come up to the scratch. There are already successful females doing such jobs.

          • ga gamba says

            I reaffirm by statement.

            There are already successful females doing such jobs.

            Really? Why is it in sport adult men and women are segregated except for auto racing, sailing, and the equestrian events? There’s no prohibition. Even Michelle Wie, who was a tremendous golfer, couldn’t hack it in the PGA. And that’s merely golf. Hit the bloody ball. Rugby, football, basketball, wrestling, boxing, MMA, etc. we find women (with XX chromosomes) can’t perform to men’s level when physicality is required – and none of them are under fire and lugging their battle rattle. Combat arms and firefighting require physicality. The former is not only life and death, it also includes the aspect of national existence. Sport includes neither, and we don’t have the prime minister and the feminists demanding the Premiership Rugby run slower and tackle more gently so the gals can along play too. Let’s think about it: the first woman who enters men’s professional sport as a genuine equal would not only earn a great salary, she’d pocket a few times more than that in adverts. One would think top female athletes would be busting their behinds to enter these leagues. Where are they? The field of play makes few concessions, and it has referees. The field of battle makes no concessions and there are no refs to call fouls.

            Read the account of the US female Rangers and all the special treatment that had to be handled to them on a silver platter to put a smile on Obama’s and the feminists’ faces.

            You’re looking for unicorns. Organisations are not bespoke. Infantry units and armoured corps, which have higher requirements than non-combat arms units, ought not be forced to tailor make accommodations for the one or two who might meet the men’s requirements (when the men’s requirements haven’t been reduced to make it easier for women to “meet the same requirements as men.”) The military holds special pleadings in contempt. And infantrymen are only about 4–5% of the total active duty US Army; they themselves are outliers.

            To study on-the-job injuries the Army created a job-demands scale ordered from light physical demand to very heavy physical demand with five categories: light, medium, moderately heavy, heavy, and very heavy. Physical demands are determined by the lifting requirements of the job, for example Very Heavy requires one lift, on an occasional basis, over 100 pounds with frequent or constant lifting in excess of 50 pounds. Forty-nine per cent of women who where assigned to very heavy and heavy military occupations did not complete their three-year enlistments. Supervisors assigned women to easier tasks. Women asked to reclassify to less physically demanding occupations. The NCOs are running around trying to accommodate complaining women. Further, the military then bowed to pressure to classify military occupations using the Department of Labour’s measures. The problem is no civilian job is objectively the same as a military occupation because no other job includes warfighting in the job description. The Dept of Labour standards were used as an end around to bypass the unique nature of military occupations. A farmer using a 67-pound spanner to fix his tractor is not under the same pressure, nor wears the same gear doing so, as tankies.

            The Rand Corporation studied the Army’s attrition problems. Only 40% of women finished their first term, and this study was conducted when women weren’t entering combat arms. Not only that, women had the highest rate of drop out (37%) in the Delayed Entry Program. They had the highest incidence of being sent to fitness training units to remedy their lack of physical fitness before beginning their Basic Combat Training. BCT attrition rates
            for women are nearly twice those for comparable men. And it continues with Advanced Individual Training; women drop out there more than anyone else. The Army is devoting all this attention and resources to a group who are the least able to succeed even when the standards have been lowered for them to succeed. That’s a dreadful investment, and they keep concocting new and improved ways to appease their political masters. Those resources can be better spent actually improving the defence of the nation.

            Women can fly combat helicopters and jet fighters, work in sustainment units (which is a vital task), and perform almost all other roles. I suspect you have no idea about the extremes imposed upon infantrymen and other combat arms units

            The bottom line on this issue… can a woman pull a fellow soldier from direct fire should he weigh 200 lbs with another 50-70 lbs of body armour, ammo, etc? Even most men can’t accomplish this. But those in the combat arms units are expected to do so. The natural environment and the enemy won’t adjust to accommodate them like everyone has to appease Nancy Pelosi. This adventure in make believe is going to get a lot of people seriously hurt and killed. Needlessly so.

            Understanding this is not that difficult, Nomad. It’s not like I asked you to eat a bushel of apples and bananas and shit a fruit salad.

      • Katherine says

        Very funny (because it’s true, as Homer Simpson would say).
        I suspect Reading Nomad is not actually in favour of the sort of preposterous and self-defeating quotas described in the article. It’s just that if there’s ever any mention of anything that could be perceived as a restriction of any kind on any woman anywhere doing anything, anything at all, then women have been trained over many wearisome years to debate it. Also we’ve probably seen far too many movies where the girl saves the day in the end, and they just seem so real…

        It’s quite extraordinary how hostile our culture seems to be to rudimentary facts of human biology and that is being expressed in many ways.

  7. John G Lammi says

    We should be saying ‘sex’ not ‘gender’, which is a grammatical term (alumnus/alumna). Purveyors of a particular (anti-science) ideology decided to pretend that sex roles were everything/one’s sex is culturally created. And the linguistic/conceptual trick was pulled off. So speak of one’s sex and then speak of sex role stereotypes.

    • Indeed. When criticising an ideology that is built on the manipulation of language, I don’t understand why Quillette editors don’t enforce proper vocabulary to describe sex policies.

  8. whothehell cares (@DuplicityNo) says

    I’m all for a Feminist Female only battalion, dedicated to much needed positions like mine clearing.

  9. Why won’t ADF just copy what IDF does? Israel drafted women into iis armed forces since the begining. They don’t seem to have any issues with biology, or morale, or effectivenes.

    • ga gamba says

      Why won’t ADF just copy what IDF does?

      For starters, because Australia doesn’t have conscription. It also doesn’t have a manpower shortage. The military is turning away men who want to join and creating preferential programmes to entice women to join.

      They don’t seem to have any issues with biology, or morale, or effectiveness.

      According to a report in the IDF’s Bamahane magazine, a large scale study was conducted among female combat soldiers in the Karakal mixed-sex infantry unit, the Artillery Corps and the Field Intelligence Corps, between the years 2012-13.

      The study indicated that a full 46% of the female soldiers suffered injuries during their initial period of training, as opposed to 25% among the men. One third of the women in the study were injured more than once.

      The injuries included torn ligaments, sprains, knee pain, back pain and stress fractures. The latter were much more common in women, afflicting only 2% of men but 8% of the women. “Most stress fractures appear in weeks 4-6 of the training period, and mainly in the field and warfare weeks,” an officer explained to Bamahane.

      “The bone density of female combat soldiers is lower than that of men, and that is why they suffer more injuries,” said the officer. “The fat percentage in women is 70% to 100% greater than men’s and that is why they are slower than them, and consume more energy during activity. At the same time, their muscle density is 33% less than the men’s and their ability to carry weights is lower.”

      The study found that the injury rate for female soldiers in Karakal is 40%, and in the Artillery Corps it reaches a whopping 70%. Knee pain among female combat soldiers is three times more common than among males, and tears in knee ligaments are also more common in women.

      Women drop out of the combat track for medical reasons at rates that are 2 to 5 times those of men’s.

      A high rate of injuries makes a unit combat ineffective. It trains and operates as a team.

      Women in the armour corps have problems lifting and loading artillery shells. The crews are also required to maintain their tanks. For example each of its road wheels weighs about as much as a female soldier does; a link on the track is half her weight. As you would expect from such a machine, operating and maintaining it, such as loading and moving ammunition, or swabbing the barrel of the gun, or changing a link in the tracks requires a lot of heavy lifting. Including a woman in a tank crew increases the burden on her male comrades. Perhaps even more problematic, in the confined space of an armoured vehicle privacy is not minimal – it simply does not exist. Can you imagine what a ‘bathroom jar’ is? The crew often does have the time or safety to exit a tank to take care of bodily functions. I think it’s only the Challenger 2 that has onboard facilities; a toilet is under the loader’s seat. Still, there is no privacy.

      Women have a function to perform, but it’s not on the front lines in sex-mixed units. Running the logistics and other systems allows more men to be put into the combat roles. Sure, they need to be trained for combat, but the day-to-day rigours of actual combat and life forward breaks down their bodies. There’s nothing to apologise for; it’s just the reality. If women really want frontline roles, such as in tanks, then the units ought to be segregated.

  10. Burlats de Montaigne says

    Total number of deaths of US military personnel in Iraq: 4059.
    Total number of male deaths: 3965.
    Total number of female deaths: 94
    Be nice to see a bit more “equality” there.

  11. Jezza says

    We should offer equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. If she can – and she wants to – go for it sister. On the other side of the coin, DoCs should be compelled to employ an equal number of men and women. This government department is practically devoid of males resulting in a fearful approach to domestic problems.

  12. Well written. It’s absurd that we seem to think that meeting some arbitrary number will make it better.

    Will we even be able to talk about the fact men and women are different?

    I’m all for trying to make the defence forces a better environment for women and more appealing. But there are better ways than granting favours to one sex over the other. That only widens the divide.

  13. Hamr says

    The same march-of-idiocy has been occurring in the Canadian armed forces, for a couple of decades now. In the past couple of years, under our current feminist PM, it has achieved the level of insanity.
    My heart weeps, for this noble institution.

  14. puddleg58 says

    Toxic masculinity is blamed for everything from serious assaults to the suicides of boys.
    In other words, it is used in lieu of an explanation for anything bad that males do, even to themselves when they are below the age of responsibility.
    It applies to both people who should be pitied and people who should be condemned to death.
    So what use does it have, if the definition is so all-encompassing? Is it a panchreston? It seems like the sort of concept, if it is a concept, that will support fuzzy thinking and cognitive dissonance – what, exactly, is the toxin?

  15. ccscientist says

    You want your soldiers to be dangerous. If that means they put death symbols on their clothing…so what? A fully civilized army will not be able to fight.
    The reality is that women simply do not have the strength or endurance that men have. In a room full of 30 men and 30 women, I would be able to arm wrestle every woman but probably beat few of the men –I am near retirement. In combat you must haul heavy stuff, your own weapons and gear, or maybe throw a wounded comrade over your shoulders. Even at age 50 I could pick up someone bigger than me and carry them –I did it as a prank with my nephew. Women can mostly never do this, which means people would die. Combat is not some joke.

  16. Pingback: Australian women and the military « Quotulatiousness

  17. Morti says

    Don’t worry about this. In about 50 years wars will be carried out solely by drones and robots controlled by computers from afar. A few humans may be left to enter the objectives of an operation, but they won’t be at the frontline. The only people physically involved in wars will be innocent civilians.

    • peanut gallery says

      I don’t think this is true. Drones have thier uses, but while the robot dogs and such look cool. They are noisy and don’t currently meet the needs of combat. If the power sources improve, perhaps they can be engineered to work more often, but right now I don’t think we’re anywhere close to an all drone war IMO.

  18. c young says

    I wonder what percentage of the Australian population support this ? 5% 10%?

    The way that a tiny number of campaigners are able to exert this kind of influence over a major institution is striking.

    Clearly, no one currently expects the Australian military (special forces excepted) to actually fight anyone. How much threat Australia would need to be under for this policy to be dropped entirely?

  19. Walt Matilda says

    I mean, seriously, who cares. The Australian “military”? It’s not like they’re a real army. What do these guys do, anyway, clean up trash from the side of the highway? I bet they have a killer chorus, and maybe a jazz band.

    • Bill says

      I think I saw that on a commercial once. “Army..it’s Australian for BoyScouts, mate!”

  20. Adam says

    I spent 5 years in a US naval construction battalion serving alongside both men and women and never once outside of performing the PFT did I ever care that women can get away with doing 30 less push ups to pass. I think people overestimate the strength required to perform most tasks; it doesn’t matter if the average women is physically weaker than the average man if both exceed the minimum requirements.

    • Chad Jessup says

      Adam – the problem is the minimum requirements are being lowered in order to accommodate more female recruits. There are many military jobs available which would satisfy the physical issues associated with being female, as you have well seen; however, fitness for combat roles should never be compromised, lowered for the sake of gender equality.

      • ga gamba says

        Correct. In combat arms the standards for men are lowered so the generals can tell the legislators and the press “women meet the standards” without lying. Change the metrics measured and the definitions to make a lie truthful. Where’s the honour in that?

        You’ll also see the advocates play word games such as “women have lower physical performance requirements, which is not the same as lower fitness standards.” That makes no difference to the 18 kg MANPAD, the 22kg FGM-148 MANPAT, and the 18kg M829 shell. Infantry has to carry the first two and the tank loader has to lift and load the last in a few seconds, which is a repetitive task.

    • Bill says

      Adam, I agree that for many MOS the difference is irrelevant, but that isn’t the point. It’s the same as middle-management in industry doing across the board % cuts rather than making hard choices about which jobs are more valuable and should cut less. A company says layoff 10%, and lazy managers go 10% across versus 20% in a mundane task, 5% in this high value one.

      The same thing holds here. They want a % across ALL specialties without regard. For probably 85-90%, hitting that % is easy as there is no physical component significant enough to warrant the biological distinction. Public affairs, military police, even aviation (including combat where female pilot’s biology may actually give them an advantage). However, to deny that there is a subset where even many MALE candidates are not qualified is false. Ga gamba describes a couple. Does this mean that females can’t survive in combat arms? Nope! There was a 98lb woman with me on an FTX who, when the Top god-gunned the SAW carrier managed to hoist up the SAW and fire it from the hip Rambo-style — but she was the exception, not the rule. She was the only woman out there that could do that, and hell, maybe 10% of the men could. How far do we take it? 15% of the SAW gunners must be women, 15% of the grenadiers, 15% of the platoon sergeants?

    • Gilles Saint-Gilles says

      A sample:

      Over and over I have heard the same tale: When hard physical work was needed, the women looked cute while the men put up the tents or unloaded mortar rounds from a six-by. Mortar rounds come in crates. The crates are heavy. A six-by carries many, many of them. Women can’t do it. It isn’t just in the military. In my scuba-diving days, the women in my club–Capitol Divers–were fine divers. When a truck of forty aluminum-eighties needed unloading, the guys did it.

      “The average female Army recruit is 4.8 inches shorter, 31.7 pounds lighter, has 37.4 fewer pounds of muscle, and 5.7 more pounds of fat than the average male recruit. She has only 55 percent of the upper-body strength and 72 percent of the lower-body strength… An Army study of 124 men and 186 women done in 1988 found that women are more than twice as likely to suffer leg injuries and nearly five times as likely to suffer [stress] fractures as men.”

      Test % Women % Men
      Failing Failing

      Before After Before After
      Training Training Training Training
      Stretcher carry,
      level 63 38 0 0
      Stretcher carry,
      ladder 94 88 0 0
      Fire hose 19 6 0 0
      P250 pump, carry
      down 99 99 9 4
      P250 pump,
      start 90 75 0 0
      Engine bolt,
      torque 78 47 0 0

      […] She told me the following about her experiences: “I was stunned. The Army was a vast day-care center, full of unmarried teen-age mothers using it as a welfare home. I took training seriously and really tried to keep up with the men. I found I couldn’t. It wasn’t even close. I had no idea the difference in physical ability was so huge. There were always crowds of women sitting out exercises or on crutches from training injuries.

  21. Men and women have both your advantages and disadvantages in the service.

    I spent 11 years in the US Coast Guard and worked for female and male OIC, COs and LPO.

    Females can be just has ruthless and cut throat as their male counter parts. Some of it has to do with a chip on the shoulder and some feel they have to prove themselves.

    Men can be highly competitive amongst each other. Not all females like that so it’s makes competition that much harder for advancement.

    Women do struggle in the physical labor type aspects of the job. Running is fine but the actual recovering a human body or heavy equipment they struggle with . Not to say some guys don’t either. But the load is less with another man than with another female in most cases.

    Their are only 2 female rescue swimmers out of 350 in the Coast Guard right now. Hardly anybody makes it through but we are talking .057 % are female.

    That just shows you that yes some women can make it through and more power to them for it but it’s very very rare.

    Some of that could be due to the physical part or that females just aren’t interested to try out for it. There is someone looking to be the 3rd.

    Why aren’t females not interested in some aspects of the military such as a rescue swimmer?

    Is it the danger aspect of it? The physicality? The training requirments and standards? Is it that men are more interested in dangerous jobs?

    Look at the civilian world men occupy the largest percentage of the high risk jobs.

    I really do believe we should be careful with the standards for male and female. In the civilian world when you apply for a job you have certain qualifications such as work experience, education, etc that everyone has to meet female or male doesn’t matter.

    But to be fair that is being ruined based on gender, race and even veteran status.

    What we should ask is what do we really want out of our men and women in the service? Do we want the best or not? Are we going to be able to compete against a force like China,Iran or some other force that goes up against us? Is having women in the combat role helpful against countries from areas of the world that don’t view women as equal? What can the military do to make itself more appealing and effective without lowering it’s standards?

    At the end of the day I’m fine with women in the service they have their advantages and disadvantages just like men but we have such a short and small pool of data it’s hard to tell how effective they are over the long haul in certain combative situations.

    I do believe they should sign up for the selective service. Equal fight for equal rights.Especially considering we almost just had a woman president.

  22. ccscientist says

    No one has mentioned what happens to POWs. Male POWs are considered to be able to take it, but when females are captured, as happened to some drivers in the Iraq war, it is like the whole nation is held hostage to the thought that they are being raped (they will be) and hurt (they will be). The US sent in special forces to rescue the female hostages in Iraq but often that won’t work.

  23. Seemingly overlooked in all the men v. women arguments is the articles’ nice analysis of the motivations and goals of the top military brass. And indeed, their actions are consistent with them being entirely a population of political glad-handers and suck-ups with no concern except their post-military careers.

    Now that can’t be true, can it?

  24. SteveDoc22 says

    It’s not “is comprised of” – it’s either “comprises” or “is composed of”

  25. Charlie says

    A friend in the Royal Marine Commandos who served in the Falklands said that by the early 1990s the numbers passing selection had dropped standards were reduced. He said that people passed who could not have coped on the Yomp in the Falklands. If one speaks to those who served in WW2 and the 1940s-1960s many have said that recruits after this period had lower pain thresholds because their lives had been softer. Those who grew up in 1930s Depression and most had boxed from a young age, were physically and mentally tough by the age of 18 years.

    If we take two types of tests, pull ups and load carries with weights of 120 pounds say over 10-12 miles of hilly and rough ground, not many women can cope.

    In fast moving war, say the German advance through Holland, Belgium and France even clerks have to be able to fight and march.

    When it comes to fighting, a man who has grown up boxing, playing rugby and brawling has developed plenty of fighting instincts by the age of 18 years. Someone who can deliver a head butt, take a punches in the head and stomach and is then put through military training will have the fighting capabilities hardly any women can match. If one looks at the commando officers in WW2 , Mike Calvert, P Leigh Fermour , J Churchill, Paddy Blaire Mayne, etc, etc they were brawlers with brains.

    The bayonet is still used and soldiers need to be trained to use it.
    https://militaryhistorynow.com/2014/01/17/stickin-it-to-em-the-last-of-the-great-bayonet-charges/

  26. John Birch says

    There is only one position females can excell when considering service to protect a country.
    Counterintelligence and the art of spying.

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