Should Women be allowed to fight on the front lines? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Should Women be allowed to fight on the front lines?

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Women were granted the right to vote in the 1920s. Since that time, women have come a long way. According to the Associated Press, women make up roughly 14% of the U.S. Military. While women have been able to serve in the armed forces, they do have combat restrictions. But, those limitation might not be around much longer.

"I think women should be able to defend themselves, defend the U.S.," says citizen Mary Torres.

While women have served in the military for years, they have been held to limited roles. Women are currently restricted from certain combat assignments in all branches of the military, primarily held to combat support jobs, such as medics and transportation officers.

"If I wanted to do it, I would be pretty mad if someone told me I couldn't," says citizen Christina Hill.

But with the recent change of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, which was formed almost two years ago, is working to give women the opportunity to serve fully in front-line combat units.

"Women do all kinds of things in the world now. If you would have caught me back in the 1900s, I bet I would be like, I'm a house wife. I don't get to do stuff like that," says Hill.

Opponents of the policy change question whether women have the strength and endurance needed for such combat, and says it would harm unit cohesion. But many in Region 8 say it's time for change.

"I think if that's what they want to do, it's fine with me. Go for it," says citizen Wayne Coots.

"I think they should be allowed to choose up until the point where a woman gets into a family and has children. At that point, I feel the woman should stay home and take care of the children, and the fighting should be left up to the man," says citizen Michael Barber.

"No one should discriminate just because of the gender. If they can do it, more power to them," says Torres.

According to a report from MSNBC, this past Friday, a special panel met to finalize the report recommending eliminating the policy. It's expected the Military Leadership Diversity Commission will send the report to Congress and President Obama in the next couple months.

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