By: Alan Levesque
Recently I was asked how I felt about women serving our country in combat roles. Since I had only briefly considered this issue in the past, I had to give it a bit of thought and sort out some things in my mind. There’s quite a bit bouncing around up there so this process took a few days. I will state for the record that as a man, my protective instincts go on high alert just thinking about this issue. While having our young men wounded or killed in battle saddens me greatly, the thought of young women dying in battle seems for some reason to be even more horrific.
Most men my age were brought up believing that fighting wars was “a mans job.” We were taught directly and subliminally that women were weaker than men and couldn’t handle the rigors of certain occupations such as police officer and firefighter. As of this writing there are approximately 6,200 women working in the United States as full time, paid, career firefighters and there are estimated to be 35-40 thousand female volunteer firefighters. Fighting fires is very dangerous and very physically demanding but it appears that the women have simply adapted to overcome the obstacles placed in front of them. One female firefighter stated that she had to gain 10 pounds of muscle through heavy workouts in order to get through the training. Female firefighters have risen to become Battalion Chiefs and a small number are Chiefs. While there have been problems along the way, it appears that women have proven that they can in fact be effective firefighters.
While numbers fluctuate and it is difficult to arrive at an accurate estimate, it is believed that there are slightly over 100 thousand female police officers working in the United States at this time. As women made inroads into the field of law enforcement, many of the same things were said about them as were said about the female firefighters. Once again, it appears that the women proved everybody wrong and have excelled as police officers. A woman is just as capable as a man when it comes to handling firearms and any perceived shortcomings with regards to physical confrontation can be overcome through self defense or martial arts training. It could be argued that women in general have some attributes that could actually make them better suited to police work than men. read more »