Men and women are not the same. They are, for obvious reasons, not meant to be the same; they are designed for different roles in life. This is not to say that men cannot take on the role of caregiver or that women can’t fight, but it does mean that men and women are, in general, better at the, roles they are designed to perform.
How does this physiology affect the ability to perform military combat duty? The difference in male and female physiology is especially true when it comes to skeletal muscle mass. Due to testosterone, men's muscle fibers are larger than women's. This allows men to have larger muscles and are thereby stronger than women.
One study showed that "women were approximately 52% and 66% as strong as the men in the upper and lower body respectively."
Another study showed "men had significantly more skeletal muscle mass in comparison to women in both absolute terms (33 vs. 21 kg) and relative to body mass (38.4 vs. 30.6%). The gender differences were greater in the upper (40%) than lower (33%) body."
Emotionally, men and women differ as well. Why are men and women emotionally different? "Aggressive competitiveness [is a] function of testosterone and the working of the masculine brain."
"The same group of neurons in the brains of both men and women process emotional experiences of fear and aggression; these neurons are connected to different regions of the brain in men and women. For women, these neurons connect to areas of the brain regulating internal areas of the body, thus focusing on aspects such as her hormones, blood pressure and respiration. On the other hand, these same neurons in men will connect to areas of the brain focused on the external areas, including vision and movement. This will cause a significant difference in the behaviour of a man and woman experiencing the same stressful situation."
When looking at women in the army, the obvious comparison is women in the Israeli army. It is thought that women are permitted in all roles, including combat in the Israeli army. The Israeli army even says women "take an equal part" as men, but when you look at women in the IDF, you will see, this is not the case. While Israel does allow women in some combat roles there are still combat positions, about ten percent of them, that are off limits to women and "the five major IDF infantry brigades are still all male."
Women only make up a third of the armed forces in Israel even though service is required because they can be exempt from serving for more reasons, such as motherhood, than men. Women tour is twenty-four months compared to men's thirty-six months required tour. It is not compulsory that women go in to combat positions. Only three percent of Israeli combat soldiers are women. The women combat soldiers are held to the same standards and tour requirements (thirty-six months) as their male counterparts.
|Women in Israel's Caracal Battalion|
- Air Force Pilot: Both Israel and the United States currently allow women to be pilots.
- Caracal Battalion: whose main duty is to patrol the Israel Egypt border, is a combat unit that is made up of seventy percent women. Though they have a policy of equality, even the Israeli military knows there is a difference between men and women.
- Oketz (“Sting”) Unit K-9 Fighter: The soldiers go into the field with their canine partners and do everything together, from searching terror facilities to chasing down an escaped criminal.
- 76th Battalion of the Combat Engineering Brigade: A unique unit which combines male and female soldiers whose job is to neutralize ABC weapons live in the field during battle. These soldiers go into the heart of enemy territory along with other combat troops during wartime, and help protect them from unconventional weapons.
- Snapir (“Fin”) Unit: Their job is to safeguard Israel’s civilian ports, especially from incoming ships, and to protect the IDF’s naval bases.
All these jobs are considered 'combat' by the Israeli army, and many of these jobs are already available to women in the US military.
If the United States is going to allow women in combat roles, those women must pass muster with men equally. They need to perform the job as well and not be allowed to perform on a lower scale than her male counter part. Jobs should be assigned by who can perform the job better, not because someone wants to do the job and it would be politically incorrect or discriminatory not to give it to someone because of gender.
In the end, it can’t be denied, physiologically and emotionally, men are better suited than women for military combat.