You are on page 1of 8

Wehrli 1

Allison Wehrli

Mrs. Jackie Burr, Instructor

English 2010, Section 2

10 April 2019

The Impacts of Female Integration in the Military

Starting with the revolutionary war, women have heroically fought alongside men in

many capacities as they serve in the military. Since then, women in military positions have

continuously dedicated their careers, futures, and lives to the cause of national security. As they

have done so more positions that require advanced skills have been opened up to them. Currently

all military cadets have equal opportunity to achieve any rank or position (Carter). Despite these

changes in policy, many women face discrimination as they go into military service just as they

have been in the past (Jensen). These misconception that women can not perform as well as men

can in the high stress, physically exhausting, and life threatening situations required by soldiers,

are based on the idea that women need to be protected. However, studies have proven that many

women can and continue to match up to all of the male standards that have been placed. In one

such study, the 2011 class at West Point Academy had a 52% pass rate for their female cadets .

The inclusion of women into all military positions benefits the military due to the greater levels

of emotional intelligence, communication opportunities, and group intelligence that comes from

adding females into the units.

The ability to understand, empathize, and adapt to group emotions, referred to as social

sensitivity, allows leaders to effectively communicate with subordinates and leads to better group

cohesion. In a study conducted by the Michigan Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon
Wehrli 2

they discovered that women possessed higher levels of social sensitivity. As women were added

into test groups, which were asked to complete various tasks with each other, they discovered

that the communication between groups became enhanced due the impact that social sensitivity

has on leadership. Leaders that have high levels of social sensitivity were found to have higher

group inclusion which resulted in greater levels of collaboration between team members. In

addition to aiding in group cohesion, the high levels of social sensitivity also limited the bias

polarization in group perspectives ( para Harring). This form of polarization comes from being

unable to empathize with the minorities ideas within a group. Due to women often being in the

minority position within groups, they display greater conscious awareness of the emotions and

perspectives that groups share or ignore (Jensen).This type of polarization happens within groups

when they have views that become supported by others in the group. As the support for an idea

grows the members of a group will believe in that idea more due to the social support for it

(Myers). Problems caused due to polarization can be avoided as leaders utilize the diverse

members of the group and gain greater empathy for their views (Jensen).

The impacts of social sensitivity further go on to explain why groups that contain more

women typically have greater group intelligence. In the MIT study they discovered that there

was a positive correlation between the number of women within a group and the overall group

intelligence recorded for that group (para Haring). Likewise in another study conducted by

Thomas Malone, Anita Woolley, and Christopher Chabris, they discovered that group

intelligence could predict group performance on various tasks. This lead to the conclusion that

the ability to evenly share time between group members when discussing the task resulted in

effective team work. In addition to the discovery of shared time amongst group members, they
Wehrli 3

also discovered that the collective IQ of groups was not based upon the average of the IQ’s in the

group or the highest IQ that any individual in the group possessed. Individuals had little impact

on the social aspects This further proves that female presence in groups does not negatively

impact teamwork, like some falsely claim (para Gwynne, Gobble).

In addition to the numerous impacts that women have within their own units, they also

can be used to communicate with foreigners. Specialized teams of women have been created in

order to communicate with foreign women in cultures where male soldiers are unable to speak

with them. Eight year military journalist, Kevin Maurer explains that during visits in Afghanistan

the local women are often keep in different rooms than the males and they are not allowed to

speak to the male soldiers. Due to the interaction between sexes that are not related closely being

seen as unacceptable, the military has struggled to communicate with these woman to help them

out of their situations and to gather intel on the plans and positions of the enemy. Now we have

specialized task forces comprised entirely of women that study Afghanistan’s culture and prepare

for communication operations. Without the addition of women into the military half of the

foreign population would be essentially unreachable for our military. (Maurer)

Furthermore, as we show that we respect the wishes of their culture, we form alliances and

are better able to aid civilians. These programs started back in 2011 to give aid to women in the

war torn afghan culture have greatly benefitted many people. Members of these specialized task

forces explain that afghan women would travel four to five miles to receive necessities of life

that these groups would pass out to them (Stewart). Actions like these, demonstrate the

humanitarian aid that the United States strives to give to the needy around the world. Without
Wehrli 4

female members in military ranks, these types of humanitarian outreach would not be possible to

the extent that they are today.

As foreign affairs change, so do the social expectations within societies. Currently

women in the United States share all the same rights as any other citizen, and they have the

expectations of equality from the society (Jensen). Many feel that any people who have the same

shared rights should shoulder the same responsibility in national defense. This notion that all

people should equally defend the United States is supported by the allowance of women into all

military positions. The initial decision to allow women into the military originated based upon

the idea that half of the population was not being able to volunteer to defend the country in

certain positions. Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter explained that as an all volunteer military, it

is necessary to allow all potential candidates to be looked at in order to maintain the highest level

of military efficiency. Naturally, the integration of women has allowed a larger fighting force

which allows greater national security (Carter).

By matching the current cultural beliefs in the country, the United States military is able

to receive greater support and funding from the national budget. Currently the Department of

defense allots ​$684.6 billion on military spending in 2019. This number as seen in the chart

shows a continuous growth on military spending in the past few years.

Wehrli 5

The extensive amount of money placed into Military spending is expanding as the need for

military expands. (Chantrill).

It is for these reason that Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, and many other prominent

military officers supported the integration of women into combat (Carter). As we allow women

into military ranks, the overall cohesive nature of military units will expand due to the social

sensitivity and group intelligence (para Haring) (para Gwynne, Gobble). The enhanced ability to

empathize, results in deep group understanding which allows the units to be strengthened

(Butcher). As units are strengthened, our military then better equipped to aid others in

humanitarian efforts and outreach programs. Through the addition of women into various

programs, many foreigners especially afghan women have been able to receive needed aid from

the United States (Maurer). Female soldiers add to the military in both numeric value and

character. There contributions throughout the history of the United States has led to their

inclusion within the military.

Although American culture largely supports women in the military, the main reasons

behind their integration were the addition of new qualified volunteers in the armed forces. By

reaching the other half of the population all military branches can expand in numbers and

strength (Carter). As the military grows due to the increased number of potential candidates the
Wehrli 6

revenue that is given to the Department of Defense also increases each year. As seen by the

diagram above, the Department of Defense military spending has increased at a continuous rate

since 2017. In 2020 the revenue given to military spending is expected to continue to follow this

trend of spending (Chantrill). The military continues to grow in numbers and in character, and

the addition of women into the armed forces aids that growth in substantial ways. The sacrifices

of women in the military result in the positive effects on units, military branches, foreign aid,

military funding, and social acceptance of women in combat (Carter) ( para Harring) (Chantrill).
Wehrli 7

Works Cited

Butcher, Lola. “Making Empathy Count.” ​Physician Leadership Journal​, vol. 6, no. 1, Jan. 2019,

p. 22. ​EBSCOhost​,

Carter, Ash, Interviewed by Gwen Ifill. ​PBS.​ PBS Newshour. 3 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 April 2019.

Chantrill, Christopher. N.p. “What is the Total US Defense Spending?” n.d. Web. 10 April 2019.

David, Myers. ​Myers’ Psychology for AP​. Holland; Worth, 2010. Print.

Gwynne, Peter, and Mary Anne M. Gobble. “Group Intelligence, Teamwork, and Productivity.”

Research Technology Management​, vol. 55, no. 2, Mar. 2012, pp. 7–8. ​EBSCOhost​,

Haring, Ellen. “What Women Bring to the Fight”. ​ Army War College​. Army War College. 2013.

Web. 10 April 2019.

Jensen, Lisa. Personal interview. 10 April 2019.

Maurer, Kevin. “In new elite Army unit, women serve alongside Special Forces, but first they

Wehrli 8

make the cut”. Editorial. ​Washington Post.​ Washington Post. 27 Oct. 2011. Web. 10

April 2019.

Stewart, Melissa. “Soldiers Reach Out to Afghan Women.” ​ 2​ 8 April 2011. Web. 10

April 2019.