End Gender Discrimination in Bootcamp

Female Marine by Saulisbury

Target: United States Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

Goal: End gender segregation in Marine Corps bootcamps and allow women and men to train together.

The Marine Corps currently trains male and female recruits in separate units, which invites a host of gender-related troubles.

For women, bootcamp gender segregation often means that they face resentment from their male comrades for “having it too easy”; this resentment is a serious impediment to group cohesion and is completely unfair to women that want to train to the same level as the men. There is already resentment over differing minimum physical standards for entry–why exacerbate the problem in bootcamp? If both genders train together, they can see for themselves the level of training that each individual undergoes and be assured of its validity.

Additionally, there is only one female unit in bootcamp. The number of women who can attend bootcamp is limited by the number of open spaces in that unit. With only one female unit, there are fewer leadership opportunities for highly skilled women. If the all-female unit was disbanded and incorporated into the rest of bootcamp, the co-ed units could then have access to a broader spectrum of leadership and leadership opportunities. If everyone is competing for leadership together, regardless of gender the strongest leaders will rise to the top.

Co-ed bootcamp training would expose young men to women in leadership positions from the very start of their military careers, which sets a good precedent for the United States’ most misogynistic branch of service. It would also give women access to more leaders with combat experience if not all of their mentors are female–an important learning opportunity now that all combat roles have been opened to women.

Ending gender segregation in the Marine Corps’ bootcamp will teach respect between genders and allow for a larger leadership pool. Please sign this petition to encourage such a change.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Defense Secretary Carter,

The Marine Corps currently trains male and female recruits in segregated bootcamp units. This results in resentment between genders from the very start of their military career–as Brown v. Board of Education taught us, separation is generally not equal–and also does not allow for the most skilled leadership to rise to the top. Removing the ban on mixing genders in Marine Corps bootcamp units would allow for a wider selection of the most skilled people for the job, exposing male and female recruits to leadership from both genders. People sometimes hear “mixed units” and assume that women and men are going to be scrubbing each other’s backs in communal showers. This does not have to be the case. Training together, however, is important. Bootcamp is an essential step to socializing young men and women in the military and the effects of gender segregation on their socialization should not be overlooked.

Impressionable young adults remember the lessons that they are taught, whether through word or example. Ending gender segregation and thus removing artificial caps on the number of women (while retaining high recruiting standards and expectations) is the best way to move the Marine Corps towards better unit cohesion.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury, U.S. Marine Corps

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