Few women show interest in infantry jobs opened to them – US Military

June 28, 2017

Three years after the Pentagon ordered the military services to prepare to open all ground combat jobs to women, few of them have expressed interest in a career in the infantry or other newly opened positions. As part of an experimental program, 233 women who completed Marine Corps infantry and other ground combat schools are eligible for those jobs, but none has requested a formal transfer. 

The Army sees similar results. “We’re not expecting a high propensity for infantry or armor,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk, an Army spokesman. The Marine Corps initially expected about 200 women a year to enter jobs previously closed to women, including a small number in the infantry. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said opening the jobs would improve combat effectiveness because the military would draw from a larger pool of applicants for the infantry and other specialties. “To succeed in our mission of national defense, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country's talents and skills,” Carter said. 

Military officials said the interest among women in previously all-male jobs may change over time, citing the gradual progress in expanding earlier opportunities for women in the military. “Incrementally over time, it’s been one success after another,” Pionk said. It remains to be seen whether this time will be different. The infantry, in particular, is a job that requires carrying heavy loads over great distances and living in austere conditions for long periods. 

The life of an infantryman has changed little over the course of U.S. military history. The armed services are also opening artillery, tanks and other specialties, which may prove less of an obstacle for women. Three years ago, then-Defense secretary Leon Panetta ordered the services to open ground combat jobs to women by 2016. Carter approved the services' plans this year, which allowed women to start training and entering the jobs. 

It may be an additional year before women show up in infantry units, since recruits who express interest in the jobs will need to undergo training in those occupations. Report by Jim Michaels, USA Today, 18th March 2016 To see whole article: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/03/18/few-women-show-interest-new-infantry-jobs-opened-them/81966838/  

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