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Old 01-05-2019, 09:10 AM
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Arrow An All-Female Marine Platoon Will Finally Train Alongside Men at Boot Camp

An All-Female Marine Platoon Will Finally Train Alongside Men at Boot Camp

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In an historic first for the U.S. Marine Corps, women will be able to train alongside men during boot camp. On Friday, a platoon of about 50 female marines began training side-by-side with the men at the traditionally all-male battalion at a facility in Parris Island, South Carolina. About 300 recruits are participating in this groundbreaking session, according to NBC News.

But before we pop a cork for this step towards gender equality, we have to take into account that this decision doesn't totally reflect a shift in the Marine Corps' philosophy going forward. Instead, according to NBC News, as well as a source cited by the New York Times, they only integrated the male and female marines for "training efficiency."
"A lack of female recruits during the winter training cycle made it more practical to shut down the all-female battalion at Parris Island and roll the remaining 50 women into a male battalion," the Times wrote, citing the official, who remained anonymous because they weren't authorized to speak publicly. According to NBC and the Times, recruits will still be trained by instructors of their own gender, despite the integration, and women will live on a separate floor in the barracks.

The Marine Corps' gender segregation has long been controversial. As Glamour wrote in in September 2017, "Officials have often argued that women and men must be separated during the training process so that women can "become more physically competitive before joining their male counterparts."

Because only 8.4 percent of Marines are women (the lowest percentage among all the branches of the military), Marine Corps leaders have said that an all-female training environment could provide them with the support they need during the early stages of service. However, others are now changing their tune and suggesting that the separation of men and women prevents male recruits from establishing good relationships with their fellow female Marines. By changing the early training process, it could foster more respect for women and help change the problematic culture that pervades the current Marine structure."

Ret. Army Col. Ellen Haring, who is advocate for the women in the military and the CEO of Service Women's Action Network, pointed out in a statement to NBC News that all other military services have coed training units—and have for years.

"The Marine Corps' recent announcement that it would integrate an all-female platoon within a company of all-male platoons on a trial basis comes decades after all of the other Services integrated all of their basic training units," she wrote in her statement. "After reviewing training data in the 1990s both the Army and the Navy found that integrating basic training units improved performance on a number of measures."

She went on to say that her organization has, "long advocated for fully integrated boot camp in the Marine Corps, including through pending federal litigation alleging that sex segregated training violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection."

But there's still some hope that this training can lead to larger change: According to the corps, they will evaluate the training results after the 13-week session.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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