Women Aren't Strangers to Combat

The Takeaway
The Pentagon announcement that they will open up combat postings to women may seem like a dramatic departure today, but in the context of world history, it's not such a giant leap. Demi Moore can produce goosebumps going toe to toe in the part war movie part workout video G.I. Jane. We can laugh at the goofy Private Benjamin back in the 80s when gender equality in the military was just an American novelty. But the world is far ahead of America's notion of what is normal and what is appropriate in combat and elsewhere. When Joan of Arc led the French to victory over the English army, she did not need a secretary of defense to give her a weapon and send her to the front lines. Down through history many women, many victories. In some battles the women hold both the passion of fighting for sons and daughters and the element of surprise as their male counterparts often can't fathom defeat at the hands of a woman. There are many legendary female heroes. Boudicca was a take-no-prisoners battlefield commander who confronted and defeated the Roman army in the 1st century. But how about the Vietnamese Trang sisters who for three years repelled the entire Chinese army that had occupied Vietnam for 1,000 years with just an army of Vietnamese women. They drowned themselves rather than be taken prisoner. Those Chinese could have used, Fu Hao, who 1,000 years earlier led 13,000 troops into battle and was the military might of the Shang Dynasty. In the 1300's Tamar of Georgia ruled her country, and defeated Turkey in battle and every other empire on her borders. She annexxed Armenia and founded an empire on the Black Sea which today remains as a Turkish city, Trabzon.   It's interesting to think about the history of gender roles in the military and America's particular history. Perhaps the greatest irony: Women who enter combat will experience an equality and parity in responsibility, while fighting for a country where they will only rarely find it in the civilian world. Quite something to die for, wouldn't you say?
Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.