Understanding the diversity in the U.S. Military is easiest if the numbers are looked at according to this nation’s population. American women account for fifty-one percent of the U.S. population and yet they only make up about sixteen percent of our uniformed officers throughout each branch of the military. The numbers are even fewer when looking at the number of women who have made a general officer rank. In the Army, only four percent of the generals are female, Navy admirals are seven percent, Air Force numbers are only nine percent, and the lowest number is the Marine Corps with three percent. (Sagalyn, 2011). The graph below shows the disparity in the numbers from each branch of the military and covers both active and reserve officers.
There are two main reasons for the lack of females involved in the higher ranks of the U.S. military. (1)- Women are not allowed to participate in combat, which is most often how a promotion is achieved. The reasoning behind this problem is feelings and beliefs about gender integration would harm how effective a combat unit would be. (2)- There is a much higher turnover rate with women than there is with their male colleagues. Women are not as likely to remain in service as long as men and are less likely to view the military as a permanent or long-term career which will affect their chances at a promotion. (Sagalyn, 2011).
The problem of women fighting in combat along with their male counterparts is not a one-sided problem. Elizabeth Hoisington has earned the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Army, leads the Women’s Army Corps and believes that women should not serve in combat because they are not as physically, mentally, or emotionally qualified as a male is and that them being there would be a detriment rather than a benefit. She also believes that mixing males and females in close situations such as combat could foster other problems if personal, intimate relationships are formed because there is the chance for too many distractions. (Bell, 2013).
Jeanne Holm, a Major General in the Air Force is the first woman in the military to ever achieve the rank of a two star general. She believes that women in combat is possible as long as the effectiveness of their unit is not compromised. Both of these women agreed that the number one priority of the unit in question would be that it is able to perform its combat mission successfully and any other concerns would come second. (Bell, 2013).
Another serious problem women face inside the military is sexual assault and/or harrassment. Pentagon records show that there was a thirty five...