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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

New Jobs for Women in Combat

Women in the military are given more oppertunities to serve their country.

The Pentagon announced Thursday it will allow women to serve in combat, opening up 14,000 jobs for female troops.

These new jobs will mostly be in the Army and Marine Corps, but women will still be barred from serving in special operation forces, frontline infantry and armor.

Photo courtesy of AP
Photo courtesy of AP

So far women were not permitted to be assigned to ground combat units below the brigade level because of the 1994 combat exclusion policy. However, due to the necessity of troops in the past decade, women were often serving as intelligence officers, military police, and medics that were “attached” to battalions.

The new rules will allow women to finally work in jobs at the battalion level.

“It's time military leadership establish the same level playing field to qualified women to enter the infantry, special forces and other all-male units," said Anu Bhagwati, former Marine Corps captain and executive director of the network.

Women can only serve in non-infantry battalion jobs such as medics, radio operators, and tank mechanics. Currently women are still restricted from serving in a battalion if a units main mission is ground combat.

The job regulations don't stop women from being exposed to danger. Of the 1.5 million active-duty military personal, 14.5% of them are women and of these nearly 200,000 women, 140 have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Additionally, many female soldiers have severed units that support frontline troops, yet they are not formally assigned to the battalion, but rather, “attached” to it. This means women work with those battalions but do not get credit for it and thus it makes it harder for women to advance in their military careers.

Having women in comabt also adds the advantage of communicating with or frisking the burqa-clad women, a task men are prohibited from doing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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