US Allows Women Soldiers in Direct Combat

February 22, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. lift [lift] (v.) – to remove or to end something (such as a rule or policy)
Example The government decided to lift the law that prevented women from voting.

2. combat [KOM-bat, KUHM-(adj.) – relates to a battle or a serious fight
Example: All soldiers wear combat boots during battles.

3. modernized [MOD-er-nahyzd(adj.) – updated or modified to become new
Example: The soldiers will perform new exercises from the modernized training routine.

4. politically correct [puh-LIT-i-kuh-lee-kuh-REKT(adj. phrase) – not offensive or insulting
Example: “Differently abled” is a politically correct term for people with handicaps or disabilities.

5. priority [prahy-AWR-i-tee, -OR-(n.) – something or someone given importance or attention before anything else
Example: Public safety is one of the government’s top priorities. 

Read the text below.

Retiring US defense secretary Leon Panetta has lifted a military policy that had banned female soldiers from doing combat roles.

The policy, which started in 1994, had prevented women from being a  part of direct fights during wars and highly dangerous missions.

With the policy lifted last month, women can now fill around 237,000 military jobs, 5,000 positions of which are for US Marines in ground combat scenarios. In addition, female military pilots may be allowed to work for elite special flight operations.
Senate Armed Services Committee chairperson Carl Levin D-Mich supports the move, saying it clearly reflects modernized military systems. Senator Patty Murray also said the lifting of the ban is an important event in America’s history.

However, Penny Nance, CEO of a conservative awareness group, commented that Panetta's   decision is just a politically correct social experiment. She said the military's priorities should be to protect the country and to be ready for combat situations instead of trying to be politically correct. 

Last November, some female soldiers and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a case against the defense department because of the 1994 policy. They said many women are already doing combat roles, but these women are not given credit for their work. Around 15% of 1.4 million active US military members are women.

The old rule will officially be changed in 2016, if allowing women in more military jobs   proves to be effective. However, women may still not be allowed in some Elite Special Operations groups such as the Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, and Delta Force.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor

Discussion A 

·         Do you agree with Panetta's decision to allow women to help fight in combat situations? Why or why not?
·          Are there rules in your community that stop people from choosing jobs they like because of their gender? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Are men and women sometimes treated differently in your society? Why do you think so?
Do you think a person’s gender affects how they do a job? How so?


February 22, 2013