Challenges That Women Face While Working in the Military Essay

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Diverse Groups in the Military and STEM

Women have served the nation in each and every other American conflict courageously and honorably. In 1901, the inception of the Army Nurse Corps facilitated the formal inclusion of women in the U.S. Armed Forces. Currently, the population of women in the Active Component of the U.S. military surpasses the 200,000 mark. Additionally, close to 190,000 women serve the Reserves and National Guard unit. In the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the deployment of over 212,000 female service members played a crucial role during the Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom operations. Over time, women involvement in the military has increased, and projections indicate of a continuous surge in the numbers of women in the military. The presence of women in war fronts has played a critical role in the recorded successes for the U.S. military (Lundquist, 2008). However, there lie some issues surrounding the presence of women in the field based on the presumption of male dominance.

Treatment of Women in the Military

Today, women account for a considerable portion of the U.S. troops. The lack of a substantial majority of the female service members emanates from the cases of unfair treatment of the females within the military. A majority of those that refuse to enroll to the military point of sexual harassment and other discriminatory incidences that women encounter once they join the forces. The notion that females depict inadequateness in conducting day-to-day activities has explains their mistreatment in the forces.

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Equality and physical standards remain hot-buttoned issues in the U.S. troops. The military has acknowledged of the different physical qualities of men and women. As a result, it has resulted in the generation of a separate physical grading criteria (Lundquist, 2008). Previously, women were prohibited from combat positions such as special operations and the infantry.

Prejudices Faced by Women in the Military

Essay on Challenges That Women Face While Working in the Military Assignment

Female service members have experienced several accounts on prejudice based on their enrollment to the U.S. forces. The mainstream society view of women as 'weak' has impacted the attitudes, notions, and perceptions of women in the military. Equality remains an illusion in the military based on the predicaments undergone by women in the forces. Reports of the sexual assault cases on women and 'light' punishments given to the offenders depict the magnitude of the prejudices female service members encounter within the military quarters. The redesigning of schools by the military to cater for the male and female gender concurs with the mainstream perception of women in the military. Unreported cases of sexual assault on women resound the neglect of the rights of women. In most cases, the offenders go scot free without any repercussions for their gross misconduct.

For decades, the subject of equality in the military remains unanswered. For example, the U.S. Marine Corps announced the postponing of the self-imposed deadline for women. Previously, women were required to complete three pull-ups to meet the threshold physical fitness test. Males were also subjected to the requirements. However, the delay allowed women to pass the test without meeting equal standards. Such an incident resonates the case of gender inequality in the military. Double standards employed in the military has enabled women to pass through less difficult tests compared to men. The disparity accounts to the sidelining of women in combat operations and the perspectives of male service members towards their female counterparts.

Challenges Encountered by Women in Military

The immense contributions of female troops have enabled the military to carry out their duties diligently. Despite a surge in females joining the military, a significant number of them leave the military at a higher rate compared to their male counterparts (Lundquist, 2008). Few of the female troops serve the military till retirement. There lie several challenges that women face that explains early retirement. Various factors have affected the decision of women in remaining in the military. Pertinent challenges experienced by women include inadequate military health care for female soldiers, concerns over career advancement opportunities, harassment, and sexual assault incidences (Ackerman, 2015). Below, we look into these challenges encountered by women in the military with a broad perspective.

Balancing Service and Family

Both male and female troops can experience challenges in realizing a balance between family and military life. The decision to remain in the military depends on family satisfaction with military life for a service member. It challenges women to balance between military and family life. Nature's responsibility endowed in women as the primary caretaker for their children makes it difficult for the women to jargon between the two roles. About 40% of women engaged in active duty have children. Pertinent issues leading to women quitting the military include constraints in reproduction, family, and child-rearing. The increasing rate of females quitting the military has discouraged civilian women from enrolling into the program.

Higher Divorce Rates

The start of the Iraq war spurred divorces. Female troops have recorded higher divorce rates compared to their male counterparts. Troubling patterns reflect the brunt that female service members encounter with military divorces. In comparison to male counterparts, female service members have recorded failing marriages three times the rate of the males. Pertinent issues that explain the divorce rates include mental health injuries, multiple deployments, gaps in family support programs, and dual-military marriages. All these challenges encompass the causative factors of the divorce rates.

Career Progression Challenges

Underrepresentation of women in higher ranks of the military explains this challenge. The ban on women serving in direct ground combat occurs as a pertinent issue that affects opportunities for selection and promotions in higher ranks of command. Additionally, most female service members doubt their opportunities for career advancement.

Sexual Assault and Harassment

For decades, women serving in the military have endured underreported cases of sexual assault and harassment. During wars, females cannot escape sexual assault threats. For example, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars depicted higher incidences of sexual assaults against female service members. The alarming rates of sexual assaults have curtailed civilian women enrolling to the military.

Women in STEM Professions

Under this section, we delve into the underrepresentation of female members of the society in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. Findings have indicated that women have experienced multiple earnings based on their growing family obligations. The earning gaps between males and females within the field also resonate to gender disparity in the STEM fields of profession. In 2011, statistics depicted of 26% representation of females whereas 74% for the males (Gordon, 2014). The uneven growth in their representation and underrepresentation depicts pertinent issues that clouds the treatment, prejudices, and challenges encountered by women in STEM professions. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the percentage of women in these professions has grown over the years. On the other hand, various factors have curtailed favorable involvement in the professions compared to their male counterparts.


Women have suffered earning disadvantages based on their inferior human capital accumulation and low work productivity. The need to care for the children coupled with other family obligations occur as the pertinent distractions that explain the disparity in pay between males and females within STEM professions. Some dependents and marital status of women have affected the paychecks of women. Work experience also explains the contrast in the paychecks of men and women (Xu, 2015).

A worsening and prolonged salary disadvantage of women in the STEM fields reflects compensation disparity between men and females in the professions. It is worth noting that females in STEM jobs earn higher compared to those in non-STEM jobs. The margin in the pay grade between those in STEM jobs and those in non-STEM jobs does not justify the disparity of pay level of females and males in the profession. Women's fertility age occurs as the most pertinent issue behind the stagnant pay progression. During this age, employers depict reluctance in offering competitive salaries to women (Xu, 2015). The reason for the delay points to suspecting possible distraction of women who may shift focus to family and childbearing obligations.


The societal perception that of the women's role in managing homes and childbearing responsibilities has fuelled gender disparity in STEM professions (Airleen, 2010). Employers have shunned from promoting females to demanding tasks in the fear of a shift of focus in the event of childbearing. Family obligations have clouded the attitudes of employers in denying qualified women in these profession promotional opportunities. Women have shunned from STEM-related courses based on the fear of future life obligations and male dominance in the field.

It is difficult to escape the reality that male-dominated professions bring high social status core thereby higher pay because of male dominance. On the other hand, female dominated jobs depicted low-status and thereby poor pay. The salaries of traditionally accustomed female jobs rise when men join them. It is more of conjecture as it depicts the fact that women undervalue their capability and worth in the jobs. For example, a male-dominated profession such as trading stocks reflects a higher pay grade compared to nursing, a traditionally… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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