Does Sexual Harassment Still Exist In The Military For Women, Even In The Nineties?

1410 words - 6 pages

Yes, the military does have sexual harassment and discrimination against women inthe nineties. "Firestone and co-researcher Richard J. Hurns analyzed a 1988 DOD Surveyof men and women in the military and found that 51.8 % of men and 74.6% of womenreported either experiencing or knowing of sexual harassment. Amoung the womensurveyed, 70.1% had experienced "sexual talk or behavior at the work place [that] createdan offensive, hostile or intimidating environment." Amoung the men, 36.9% gave thesame answer."(1) The percent of women being sexually harassed is much higher than thepercent of men being harassed. Even though it is not tolerated, it still happens regardlessof the consequences, even in the nineties.While some women's experiences have been similar to those of black men, theirintegration into the military has also differed in several ways. Because of our society'sfundamental belief that protecting the home and going to war are a man's work, men fromminority groups have often been accepted more readily in the military than the women.Women have been viewed as outsiders in a male environment. Discrimination andharassment occurs for women because we are entering an all male dominated area. Someareas are still restricted because of it. For example: serving in direct combat capacitiessuch as armor, infantry, and special forces--branches from which much of the seniorleadership is drawn. "In 1994, the annual Navywide Personnel Survey included questionson women's role for the first time. Some 65 percent of officers and almost 50 percent ofenlisted respondents said they did not think women were fully accepted in combat roles.While approximately 80 percent said harassment was not tolerated at their command,almost half of all respondents disagreed that everyone is treated equally in promotions andadvancements."(2) Some of this is bases on the presumed physical and psychologicalcharacteristics of women which may interfere with their performances of some militaryjobs. For example: the physical strength of women. People believe that women are notstrong enough to lift and carry heavy equipment or wounded fellow soldiers and that welack endurance to perform these tasks over a lengthened period of time. Also, there is theidea that women can not perform strenuous tasks quickly, like loading heavy shells into aweapon. And combat is not for the weak and slow.Although allowing women in combat remains a top priority, women are nowserving in virtually every other occupational capacity in all four branches of the military.A large number of previously restricted areas to women have been opened in the Armyand Marine Corps, and the Air Force has women training now for all previously closedcareer fields. Even the Navy is improving, which is a shock on its own.Even with increasing sexual harassment cases, the rising number of women beingrecruited is not due to any idealistic vision of the right of women to serve their country inuniform. One might say this trend is driven...

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