On July 26, 1948, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 abolishing racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces.
This led to the end of segregation in our military; it can certainly be argued it also opened the eyes of those seeking an end to racial injustices in the private sector.
Almost 70 years later, in December of 2015, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced that all combat jobs will be open to women, with no exceptions.
He told The New York Times:
“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.”
This change brought about a large discussion, especially on social media, about whether women should be required to sign up for Selective Service; if they have equality in the military, why shouldn’t they? It is certainly something that calls for more discussion.
There are many veterans of both genders in the YouTern community, and they reminded us that the Women’s Army Corp bill enacted in 1943 meant the military had a long history of equal pay for equal work. In 2016, again seven decades later, it seems many industries and companies the private sector have yet to catch up.
These factors made us turn our attention to the possibilities for women who choose military careers; perhaps this is the fastest route to true equality?
We’ll discuss this on our next Breaking Glass episode on February 24th at 12 noon EST.
We’d love to have you join the discussion!