Bayram Do?an
Research and Composition

Should Women Serve in the Army?
The 21st century is the age of professionalism in the armies all over the world. That requires the employement of soldiers at different millitary branches with adequate mental capacity and appropriate physical features. ?t is also the age of equality of genders. Today, there are only a few occupations that remain solely masculine. Women are constantly gaining new positions and proving they are also capable of participating in physically challenging activities. This is true for our country as well. We can see women working at different branches of the Army. Before 1990 it was almost impossible to see any woman serving in the millitary combat services in Turkey, today we can see female soldiers not only in peacetime millitary headquarters, schools or or traininig centers but also at the battlefield in the front lines. However, is such an implementation reasonable? Although women have successfully proved they dont deserve to be called a weak gender anymore, war is one of those occupations women should not take part in, since it may result in a series of negative consequences in regard to their health and the morale and dicipline of the nation’s military. There is an ongoing discussion in the millitary headquarters as well as at public opinion whether the benefits of employing women for combat duties worthwhile.
Woman are weaker and less enduring than men by nature. No matter how passionate feminists may get about such statements, a woman, even a trained one in military camps, can hardly match a man in physical strength. Therefore, if women would be allowed to serve in the army, they would either need to match with the already existing training standards, or the standards themselves have to be lowered for everybody in the millitary. Otherwise the motivation for soldiers to get the highest standarts would be lost. For instance, after women were allowed to serve in the Turk?sh Army, the standarts for push-ups were determined 25 for women and 40 for men, which is always a discussion among the soldiers and a good excuse for the men to compansate for their failure at physical activities. This is only one example of the challanges that is to overcame for he deployement of women in the army.
While most of the jobs in the army are suitable for both male and female soldiers, there are still some women are not physically qualified. Physical exercises which are normal for men and also essential to conduct combat operations are often painful and may create healty problems for women. A women’s health can be damaged by constant physical exercises. This is especially true for the reproductive system. According to recent researches, excessive exercise can seriously reduce a women’s fertility. In addition, it may result in problems with menstruation cycles and hormonal balance. Pregnancy is another problem that can effect the deployability of a millitary unit. Besides women having such healty problems are in need of utmost healthcare and their absencies during combat activities may not be always tolarable. It is obvious when compared to the possibility of becoming infertile and having many specific health problems, the benefits from serving in the army are rather questionable.
Today women represent a minority in the military. Thus, having one woman in a whole squad of men is not resaonable. Being surrounded by men is psychologically irritating for women and men as well; besides, there always have been the chances of sexual harassment as long as both genders spent time to gather. Soldiers are at the risk of torture and rape when surrounded to the enemy. But abusement of female soldiers are most likely all the time.
Today, serving in the army in order to conduct combat operations is surely a masculine work, and it does not seem likely to change for a long time in the future. Women in the army will decrease its fighting efficiency, since training standards will inevitably be lowered. Excessive physical exercises can seriously damage women’s health. Also, women in the army are not numerous, therefore they will most likely suffer from sexual harassment and negatively affect discipline. Despite the traditional high standarts of discipline in the Turkish army, having women taking part at the millitary service will negatively affect discipline in a millitary environment and reduce the army’s combatant capacity.

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