NEW YORK — Two women recently made US military history after becoming the first female soldiers to ever pass the US Army’s grueling Ranger School.
However, 1st Lt Shaye Haver and Captain Kristen Griest will not be able to serve on the front lines while a ban on women in combat roles remains. It is just one of many challenges ahead, as women fight to advance in the US military.
Katie Holden, a former US Marine, told Rudaw it is about time the military made room for females on the front lines.
“To only have one part of the population and cut out that other part that's got completely different experience that could bring context to the operations and the people we are interacting with overseas… it seems like we are doing ourselves a disservice," she said.
Army officials have rejected criticism that Haver and Griest, both West Point graduates, were given special treatment to pass the demanding course, but resistance by some in the military to full integration persists.
Dr. Elsbeth Cameron Ritchie, a former soldier and a psychiatrist with the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health, has published a book on the challenges facing women in combat roles.
She said females are fit to fight with the men, but that some provisions are not being adequately addressed.
"Women are wearing diapers, and they are wearing diapers because there is not a safe place for them to safely urinate,” she said. “If you are in Afghanistan, you can't just go behind a bush, because you may be shot or blown up by a bomb."
In the above video, Patrice Howard reports for Rudaw from New York on the changing roles of women in the US military.