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Should Women Take Part In Combat? - by Katiravan A/L Gunasagaran (2014)

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Women are usually known as the supporting base line of every family. They are also known as the soul providers of taking care of the family. In today’s society, with effective action full out in most industries, and the equal rights movement having made great progress; there is finally a snag in the nylons of woman activists.

In fact, it has been over two decades since worldwide countries have had a military and armed combat. The big question that everyone keeps on asking is whether or not women should participate in the combat. Well, combat roles are usually defined as “roles whose primary duty is to close with and kill the enemy”.

Has our worldwide nation sunk so low that we are willing to send our sisters, daughters, sweethearts and young mothers into battle field? Is humanity completely dead? If think wisely, women should not take part in combat. There are some surveys, and   facts that will prove you why women should not be included into the military combat. This idea strongly opposed based on reasons such as; sexual assault or sexual harassment on women combatants, pregnancy problems and the threat of become prisoners of war (P.O.W) is a serious one.

Throughout a large number of cultures and nations, women in the military have a history that extends over 400 years into the past. Women have played many roles in the military, from ancient warrior women, to the women currently serving in conflicts, even though the vast majority of all combatants have been men in every culture.

According to an article, relatively few women in history have fought alongside men even though women serving in the military have often been controversial. Fighting on the battle front as men was not the only way women involved themselves in war. Some women braved the battlefront as nurses and aides (Keeppy, 2013)

The role of women in the military, particularly in combat, is controversial and it is only recently that women have begun to be given a more prominent role in contemporary armed forces despite various, though limited, roles in the armies of past societies. As increasing numbers of countries begin to expand the role of women in their militaries as combatants, the debate continues.

From the beginning of the 1970s, most Western arms began to admit women to serve active duty. Only some of them permit women to fill active combat roles, these are: New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Germany, Norway, Israel, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.

In 2011 and 2012, the U.S. Defense Department began looking at loosening its near-universal ban on women serving in direct positions of combat but the attempt did not successfully complete (Fox News, 2013).  In 2013, the United States Armed Forces overturned a 1994 rule banning women from serving in certain combat positions, potentially clearing the way for the presence of women in front-line units and elite commando teams (Daily Beast, 2013).

Where this is the main reason the issue raised again to be argued.

First, why women should not take part in combat because integrating women into male combat unit will cause men combatants to behave badly. No doubt, men will turn their heads when a female soldier walks by. Men are likely to act foolishly to protect women in their combat units.

This may lead to indignity of women’s presence and harassment. As more women enter the armed services, abuse incidents goes up as well. “From the three US service academies, one in seven women reported been sexually assaulted, and half have been sexually harassed.” (The Day, 2013). Both these problems created tensions and redundancy on morale issue, and so weaken the military in combat situations.

According to female Marine Iraq war vet who did serve in the combat zone doing entry checkpoint duty in Fallujah, she stated that when sexual assault happens, and a woman not only loses faith in her fellows, but may fear them (Right Side News, 2013). She also stated that this will redundancy on morale issue and effect military readiness. While this kind of widespread conflict caused by competition for female affection’ claimed by alarmists is unlikely in the face of military discipline, the maintenance of active combat relationships does weaken the willingness to fight.

Besides, pregnancy becomes major problem in today’s military. It would only make the problem worse if women still wanted to enter armed force especially in combat unite. This also could be the result of sexual harassments as mentioned above. In fact, major of the female combatants were get into married life after few years in army and of course this is the main reason of they get pregnant.

Likewise, it can be a main reason of avoiding call-up. Men have even used this tactic during the Vietnam War in 1959. According to some research, due to pregnancy, more than 10% of active duty women in the US armed forces are unavailable for call-up for duty while another 5% have had their babies and brought them back to the post (Knox news, 2013). The British Royal Navy has also found this a problem since allowing women to serve equally on warships (REUTERS, 2013). This will surely affects the military readiness.

In addition, in wars, soldiers are often captured and become prisoners of war by enemies. Male prisoners of wars are usually been captured and tortured. Many societies around the world value women less than men. At a point of view that is a true fact where on the average, have only 60 % of the physical strength of men. They are shorter and smaller than men, with 25-30% less aerobic capacity, which is essential for stamina or fighting capability.

This misogyny may make female soldiers more likely to be captured and tortured or in particular raped than male. At the same time, this threat or reality may lead male soldiers, captured alongside female soldiers, to crack more easily under interrogation. In a mass media age the use of captured female soldiers in propaganda broadcasts may have a different effect on the television audience back home, perhaps weakening the nation’s determination and commitment to the war effort.

For example, the story of Jessica Lynch, an American marine captured in Iraq on March 23, 2003, was widely reported in the American media, which was affecting national morale (New York Daily News, 2013). On the other hand, the media paid little attention to the male soldiers captured at the same time.

On the other hand some people having a thought, women should be given same role as male in combat as gender equality:

“ There is a fundamental principle that men and women should be considered equal in all walks of life; and as such should both have an equal role in the military, including being in combat. Women have to be given the same opportunities as men, in the army in order to have the same opportunities they have to be exposed to the same risks.” (American Forces Press Service, 2013)

Is that necessary to show gender equality by sending women together with men to war? Obviously no! In fact, this does not mean that women have to take part in combat to implement the gender equality. The alternative is that it is possible to change the promotion policies in armies to give women a fair chance at career advancement.

Men and women are both to be given opportunities to join the army, but with the understanding that different roles require different physical, emotional attributes. Where some women are able to meet the absolute physical requirements for front-line combat such as carrying a wounded soldier, throwing grenades or digging a trench in hard terrain, most are not. This should mean in turn that there are multiple routes to promotion so that women have equal opportunities without having to fight take part in combat operations.

Many countries that have included women in combat roles have appealed them as well but most of them faced failures. Russia used women in many different battles during World War II and saw great things with the female unite. After few years, the idea of using women in combat was banned due to some reasons. Women in combat also will face some mental health Issues.

For example, women who have been exposed to war zones may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition characterized by anxiety, depression, panic attacks, anger, and nightmares. The effects of sexual trauma (including harassment, assault, rape or other violent acts) can include depression, substance abuse, suicidal and intrusive thoughts. In a newspaper article stated that “13 to 30% of women serving in the military have experienced a form of such trauma.” (The Washington Post, 2013).

In addition, career progression is often slower for women than for their male counterparts and they are underrepresented in the military’s senior ranks. According to some retired servicewomen, they believed they had to work harder to receive the same level of recognition servicemen received. (Right Side News, 2013)

In a nutshell, this is a huge issue and should be seen from both sides. If asked right now, many women would not want to be take part in combat. Each woman should have the rights to decide whether they want to be in combat or not. Do not drag women into a combat and pick the ones that don’t want to be there. The military is a man’s playground and women should try to be as far away as possible where they can prevent problem like health issues, sexual harassments, physical injuries.

Like old people used to say: “A war is no place for a girl!” So, let the men have all the mud, guns and war in the military and let woman have a voice to choose what she wants. This is one topic where I see a strong difference between a man and a woman. This is a good difference because the armed combat is mostly suitable for men and should always stay that way while women should not take part in combat.


1. Alexey. (2013). Girls in the military. Keeppy, Retrieved from:

2. Boroff, D. (2013, April 1). Jessica Lynch remains haunted by Iraq 10 years after dramatic and historic rescue. New York Daily News. Retrieved from: 3.

4. Eden, J. (2013, February 17). The Problems of Women in Combat. Right Sight News. Retrieved from:

5. Fishel, J. (2013, January 24). Military leaders lift ban on women in combat roles. Fox News. Retrieved from:

6. Korda, G. (2013, February 12). Women in front-line combat. Knox News. Retrieved from:

7. Mcdermott, J. (2013, March 17). Coast Guard Academy takes new tack toward preventing sexual assaults. The Day. Retrieved from:

8. Parker, K. (2013). Combat puts women at unique risk. The Washington Post, Retrieved from:

9. Pellerin, C. (2013, January 24). Allowing Women in Combat Strengthens Joint Force. American Forces Press Service. Retrieved from:

10. Pittman, G. (2013). Unintended pregnancies on the rise in servicewomen. Reuters, Retrieved from:

By: Katiravan A/L Gunasagaran

ID: 102120655

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