The debate over women in the infantry has heated up in recent weeks. Advocates of integration were thrilled recently when two female officers passed the rigorous Army Ranger course. But they suffered a setback when a nine-month, $36 million study conducted by the Marine Corps indicated that all-male units performed better in the field than integrated ones.
According to news reports, the summary of results from the unprecedented study indicated that all-male ground combat squads were faster, stronger and more lethal in most cases than units that included women. The women also suffered higher injury rates during physically demanding training.
Advocates of integration were quick to respond to the Marine study. In the Christian Science Monitor, Anna Mulrine penned a hit piece on the Marines (“Why Marines, unlike Army and Navy, are so against women in combat,” Sept. 11), essentially arguing that a form of machismo “has prevented the Marines from taking steps toward integrating women more seamlessly into the force — steps the Army took long ago, such as opening support jobs in combat units to women … Within the halls of the Pentagon, the Marine Corps has widely been regarded as foot-dragging on the matter of women in its combat ranks.”