Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

Does Attention to Female Rangers’ Graduation Rewrite Past Women out of Combat?

SUMMARY: While the achievements of First Lieutenant Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver passing Ranger School demonstrate to the skeptics that women have the “military mettle” to serve in combat positions, women have been serving in combat (without the training) for years now. It is convenient political ammunition to use the graduation of the two female Ranger graduates to justify women’s participation in combat roles. However as Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak writes, it is a “little like making Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg go back and get their college degrees to prove they can make it in the marketplace.” The erasure of women’s combat narratives is commonplace, with Colonel Ellen Haring, one of two Army Reserve Officer’s who first sued the Defense Department and Army for barring women from combat units, claiming that “over 1000 women have been killed or injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

SOURCE: Petula Dvorak, August 20 2015, ‘Ranger School reality check: Women have been fighting – and dying- alongside combat units for years,’ The Washington Post,

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