Generals in skirts

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Jul 10, 2019
Women in the US Army are not uncommon. They have long served along with men and got high ranks. But in September 2019, for the first time in the U.S. Army history, the general rank was awarded to two sisters. Earlier this high rank was already sought by fathers and sons and even spouses. «The fact that women from the same family got the general ranks is an incredible achievement», said Melissa Dalton, senior researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Indeed, for America, where the struggle of women for their rights, including leadership in the government and the army, is one of the top priorities, the army achievements of the two sisters are impressive.

Maria Barrett and Paula Lodi awarded the high ranks, grew up in an Italian immigrant`s family. In their big family, the «public service» importance has always been emphasized. Since childhood, Paula showed interest in sports, and Maria was a role model in her studies. Each of the sisters also had their own way to the army. Paula, who had been dreaming of army since childhood, ended up completing courses for reserve officers at G. Rutgers University. Her sister, on the contrary, wanted to make her career at the State Department. But when arose the financing education question, she preferred the army. Now Lodi is the deputy staff chief in the the Chief Army Surgeon office. Her sister leads the US Army Network Technology Command Unit (NETCOM).

The starting point of female service in the army can be considered 1901, because it was then that the Nurse Corps was created. Since 1948, in America has been enacted a law that defines the integration of women into the United States regular and reserve forces. The key year was 1972, when, after the abolition of the regular draft, the US Army allowed women to serve under the contract. In 1976, the West Point American Military Academy accepted the first 119 female cadets. In 1978, women soldiers were integrated into the regular army on a common basis, which made it possible for women to occupy senior leadership positions in the army. In 2008, Anne Dunwoody got the highest general rank in the United States and became the first woman to be a four-star general. In 2013, the US Secretary of Defense lifted the ban on women from participating in hostilities. From now on, in the US Army all military offices were opened for women.

According to statistics, 16% of women are serving in the US Army currently. Among 417 generals and admirals, 69 are women. They can be found in almost all types and branches of the American troops: ground forces, naval forces, as well as in the technical services of the Air Force and special forces. They perform military tasks for servicing heavy equipment, aircraft, monitor military equipment state. But all this does not mean the victory of feminism. Periodically, military reports express doubts about the presence of women in a number of combat posts. Thus, American experts came to the conclusion that the combat units of the marine corps became worse with the inclusion of women in their ranks. The same can be said about the participation of women in hostilities.

Moreover, such an active proliferation of women in the army has opened another significant problem - sexual violence. It is enough to recall such high-profile cases as the scandal at the Aberdeen Proving Ground or «Operation Iraqi Freedom». The Pentagon annually publishes reports on sexual assault and sexual violence in the US Army. According to statistics, the highest level of sexual violence against women military personnel was observed in the Marine Corps, the Navy, and in the Ground Forces.

Despite all the taken measures, the level of violence against women in the US Armed Forces still does not decrease. The war does not have a female face, but there is simply no one to serve in the American army. Furthermore, it is not just about the rank and file, but about high ranks. To prove this, we can cite the words of Acting US Secretary of Defense Ryan McCarthy: «Major General Maria Barrett and Brigadier General Paula Lodi are the best America can offer». In the ranks of the US Air Force have long been recruiting representatives of sexual minorities, and women turn has come. In this regard, all doors are open for them in the American army.