"Does the Military Continue to Have Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Against
Women in the 90\'s?"


Yes, the military does have sexual harassment and discrimination against
women in the nineties. "Firestone and co-researcher Richard J. Hurns analyzed
a 1988 DOD Survey of men and women in the military and found that 51.8 % of men
and 74.6% of women reported either experiencing or knowing of sexual harassment.
Amoung the women surveyed, 70.1% had experienced “sexual talk or behavior at
the work place [that] created an offensive, hostile or intimidating
environment.” Amoung the men, 36.9% gave the same answer."(1) The percent of
women being sexually harassed is much higher than the percent of men being
harassed. Even though it is not tolerated, it still happens regardless of the
consequences, even in the nineties.

While some women\'s experiences have been similar to those of black men,
their integration into the military has also differed in several ways. Because
of our society\'s fundamental belief that protecting the home and going to war
are a man\'s work, men from minority groups have often been accepted more
readily in the military than the women. Women have been viewed as outsiders in
a male environment. Discrimination and harassment occurs for women because we
are entering an all male dominated area. Some areas are still restricted
because of it. For example: serving in direct combat capacities such as armor,
infantry, and special forces--branches from which much of the senior leadership
is drawn. “In 1994, the annual Navywide Personnel Survey included questions on
women\'s role for the first time. Some 65 percent of officers and almost 50
percent of enlisted respondents said they did not think women were fully
accepted in combat roles. While approximately 80 percent said harassment was
not tolerated at their command, almost half of all respondents disagreed that
everyone is treated equally in promotions and advancements.”(2) Some of this is
bases on the presumed physical and psychological characteristics of women which
may interfere with their performances of some military jobs. For example: the
physical strength of women. People believe that women are not strong enough to
lift and carry heavy equipment or wounded fellow soldiers and that we lack
endurance to perform these tasks over a lengthened period of time. Also, there
is the idea that women can not perform strenuous tasks quickly, like loading
heavy shells into a weapon. And combat is not for the weak and slow.

Although allowing women in combat remains a top priority, women are now
serving in virtually every other occupational capacity in all four branches of
the military. A large number of previously restricted areas to women have been
opened in the Army and Marine Corps, and the Air Force has women training now
for all previously closed career fields. Even the Navy is improving, which is
a shock on its own.

Even with increasing sexual harassment cases, the rising number of women
being recruited is not due to any idealistic vision of the right of women to
serve their country in uniform. One might say this trend is driven by the need
to recruit an increasingly intelligent, well-educated, and fit military in the
face of data that reflects the shrinking amount of qualified male candidates. “
By current estimates, there are 191,399 women on active duty in all four
branches of the US Armed Forces, accounting for approximately 12.7 % of all
active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Personnel. As of September 1995,
women accounted for 13.2 % of all officers and 12.6% of all enlisted personnel.
Approximately 16 percent of all active duty Air Force Personnel (officers and
enlisted) are women, followed by 13 percent of the Army, 12 percent of the Navy,
and about 4.6 percent of the Marines.”(3)

Sexual harassment is believed to be increasing, but one must remember a
lot of sexual harassment goes unreported. It is a shame women are afraid to
report cases for fear of being thrown out of their job, or just plain lack of
knowledge on where to go or what to do. Women can get the feeling of not
trusting anyone in the military command easier than women for two reasons. One,
99 percent of commanding ranks are taken by men, and two, men are more likely
to help men than women. A woman can not get help from a commanding officer
that\'s a woman, because the commanding officer is probably in a rut of her own.
Women should join forces and overthrow the men in charge. The US would see a
dramatic difference in sexual harassment cases reported. “A Pentagon Survey