In the year 2006, at an American army base found near Baghdad called ‘Camp Victory’, several American female soldiers were found dead due to dehydration. They died not because they had no access to liquids, but because they did not go to their barracks to drink water in fear of being raped by their fellow soldiers. The army responded to the dehydration case in Camp Victory promptly, however it was not the kind of response that many were hoping for (Tobey 16). Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, a former senior military commander in Iraq, said in an interview that “The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory.” (Tobey 16)
This type of treatment is one that American female soldiers have had to come to terms with on a day-to-day basis. They have had to learn the cold and harsh truth that on the battleground, enemies are to be found not only from the opposing side but from their own team as well. These female soldiers are put in an environment wherein demeaning insults and physical attacks have become a regular occurrence due to male dominance and the many stereotypes that women have been branded with. They often have to deal with the prejudices of their fellow soldiers and the military authorities as well. They are looked down on and they do not receive the same benefits as their male counterparts do. Female soldiers must be able to enjoy the same rights as male soldiers do. If male soldiers can rely on the good opinion and treatment provided by the military authorities, shouldn’t the female soldiers be entitled to such as well? In spite of the degradation caused by stereotypes, the American military should take action to guarantee the equal treatment of male and female soldiers.
The history of females in the American military is a long one. Females have been serving in the combat sector of the American military legitimately since the 1940’s however there has been evidence of women’s participation in the army since the Revolutionary War of the late 1700s. Although they were very few in number, there were women who fought in the Revolutionary War alongside their fellow countrymen, albeit disguised as men (Renzetti and Curran 253).
By the time the Civil War came 80 years later, women still disguised themselves as men in order to fight. It is interesting to note however, that it was during the Civil War wherein women were accepted as nurses. Many male doctors preferred that men fill the role of nurse but due to the staggering number of injured soldiers, they had no choice but to assign the role to women. Most of the nurses were not trained. There was no such institute that taught nursing, so they often learned their trade by observing doctors and other more experienced nurses (Nathan 15, 17).
During World War I (1917-1918), new opportunities within the American military were presented to females. The invention of the typewriter caused companies to hire women as typists. Naturally, the American...