Gender Equality: A double standard for women in the military?

Earlier this month, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that it was postponing its self-imposed deadline for women to be held to the same physical fitness standard as men. On January 1, 2014 female Marines would have been required to complete three pull ups on their physical fitness test; the same requirement as male Marines. Over 50 percent of women were unable to complete the new standard. Therefore, Marines chose to delay the deadline and allow women to pass without meeting the equal standard. With the military so willing to ignore these equal standards, one must wonder, does the military have a double standard when it comes to gender equality?

Last year military leadership lifted the ban on women in combat positions like the infantry and special operations without a clear pathway to successful integration. Physical standards and equality remain a primary issue of contention.

For decades, women and men have had ‘equal but different’ physical standards. The military recognized that men and women have different physical qualities which led to the generation of a separate physical grading scale. Correspondingly, women were also prohibited from the majority of combat roles including special operations, infantry, and other ground roles that required a higher level of physical performance. Now that women are able to pursue these combat arms-type positions within the military, the physical demand of the mission must be addressed.

So how you do handle this challenge? The answer lies in equality. But the word equality is not ambiguous. Equality is the state of being equal, and equal is defined as being of the same measure, quantity, amount or number as another. The same standards, the same treatment, the same physical requirements, regardless of your gender. No political correctness, no ulterior motives. No senior level officers getting to bolster their Officer Evaluation Reports with accolades of leading the integration of females into infantry units.

Whenever compromise occurs in the ‘name of equality’ it only further perpetuates female stereotypes that women have spent years combating in the military. Military leaders must stand firm on equality and not buckle to the pressures of meeting a female quota at the expense of creating double standards of equality. We want the best and most qualified defending our freedoms and way of life. It doesn’t matter if they are pretty, ugly, male, female, tall, or short, as long as they are the best physically, mentally, and emotionally to accomplish the mission of defending our nation.

Gender success should not be the focus of this issue, as the Marines hinted was the reason they have delayed enforcing the equal standard. Mission success must be the number one priority, as the military’s purpose cannot be skewed by attempts at social engineering. Believe it or not, our national security depends on these standards that ensure mission success. We must maintain the most lethal and elite military in the world by meeting a mission standard, not a gender standard. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. A standard is a standard.

The mission standard of these critical and vital units must not be lowered to meet the needs of females. If women are able to meet the physical standards required of the position, then good for them. They should then be granted every opportunity that a man is offered. But do not expect to have that opportunity without being able to toe-the-line with men.  You’re going to have to on the battlefield anyway. The mission isn’t any less demanding because women are suddenly trying to accomplish it.

And the majority of women in the military don’t expect or want different standards based solely upon their gender. They want to succeed based upon their own actions and merits, not be handed a consolation prize because they were granted special treatment. Military women don’t need to appease certain parts of society that demand this change without ever having served in the military. Women who have been in the military for some time understand the resentment that comes along with ‘equal but different’ standards in a world that demands equality.

Unfortunately, as with the Marines, we are seeing military leadership more concerned with fulfilling quotas than meeting mission priorities. Many are more focused on setting women up for successful entries into these positions than actually holding them accountable to the standard. Often men train for months to get physically prepared for certain job positions within the military. If women know they have a weak spot physically, shouldn’t they be required to do the same instead of lowering a standard or postponing a deadline? This is a double standard in a society that preaches equality and a military that demands personal responsibility.

The bottom line is there must be a common standard. If you qualify for that standard, male or female, then you are eligible for that position. If you don’t meet the standard, you are ineligible. It is as simple as that. Specific military occupational specialties demand that the best candidates for the job, and only those should be eligible to occupy that position.

This isn’t about the success of women in the military in combat roles. Women have long been proving themselves in combat and war around the world, regardless of the recent media hype surrounding the semantics of ‘women in combat.’ This is about maintaining the most precise and elite fighting force in the world. If that means only a few females are able to serve in those newly opened combat positions, than they will have been selected for truly being the best candidate for the job, not for their gender. That is equality: the opportunity to equally pursue the job position, not a guarantee that you will be selected based on your gender, reduced standards, or meeting quotas.

Originally published at The Daily Caller

Semper Fi: Gary Sinise, Honorary Marine

Semper Fidelis now has a new meaning to actor and musician Gary Sinise. On August 29, the long time veterans advocate was awarded as an Honorary Marine at a dinner at the home of Marine Corps commandant, General James Amos. During the dinner Sinise was pinned with the coveted Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. This is quite unique an honor as only 76 people have shared the title since the Marines inception.

 “This was one of the most extraordinary nights. I was totally surprised by what the general gave me tonight, I’m humbled, shocked, moved and motivated to keep standing up for our men and women and giving back to them,” Sinise said in a statement after being awarded the honor.

General James Amos, who hosted the dinner said “There is little I can say to enhance the rich reputation Gary Sinise has earned, both in the spotlight as an immensely talented actor, and less conspicuously as a tireless advocate for our men and women in uniform. What I can do, what I am privileged and proud to do, is to recognize this humble patriot’s selfless service by making him an Honorary Marine.”  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey attended the dinner as well.

Gary Sinise is a prominent actor, known for his role as Vietnam War veteran LT Dan in the epic film Forest Gump and as Detective Mac Taylor in the TV show CSY: NY.  His interest in helping veterans was sparked in 1994 from his role in Forest Gump as LT Dan. He went on to create a music group called the LT Dan Band and has toured around the globe to different military bases to provide free concerts to military members and their families. Additionally, he created the Gary Sinise Foundation and has raised millions of dollars that provides veterans, troops, and wounded warriors and their families with programs that help give back through education, housing, and entertainment, and more.

Gary Sinise is truly an admirable American who understands the value of our troops and veterans. His continued selfless service and passion for veterans awareness has changed the lives of countless service members and their families. Thank you for your outstanding service to our veterans and congratulations on your well deserved title of Honorary Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Semper Fi!

For more information on the Gary Sinise Foundation, visit: www.

Follow Amber on Twitter: @AmberBarno

Additionally published at Concerned Veterans for America: