Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

Were Women Asked to Lower their Standards in the Marines?

SUMMARY: Kyleanne Hunter is a former US Marine Officer and current Ph.D. candidate at the University of Denver, who writes about standards in the Marine Corps. Lieutenant Colonel Kate Germano the recently dismissed commander of the Fourth Battalion has commented on the highly political issue of physical standards in the US Forces. Germano claimed that lowering standards for women “led to an underlying sexism in the ranks, one that systematically kept women from reaching their full potential.” Her continued efforts for female candidates to meet “higher” standards caused great controversy, and she has now been removed as commander of the training battalion. The hyper-masculine Marine Corps culture is a palpable and significant hindrance for “integrated forces.” Hunter discusses her own experience in the Marine Corps, especially while training, where she held herself to the male physical standard in order to “prove that [she] belonged.” However, Hunter’s accomplishments were also marred by constant comments about her gender and the “institution that has conditioned Marines to expect less from its members who are born female.” Hunter goes on to claim, “combat does not care about your gender,” and notes the slow institutional shift in the US military that is challenging the present masculine culture.

SOURCE: Kyleanne Hunter, August 25 2015, ‘The cost of lower standards for Women in Marine Recruitment,’ The New York Times – At War Blog,  

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