Tag: gender (page 1 of 3)

There is No Lone Wolf Terrorism: but there is anxiety about brown men, loneliness, and mental illness


There’s something about ‘lone wolf terrorism’ debates that stinks. I can’t quite find a singular source of the smell, but after further investigation, it seems the relatively recent surge in the use of  the category ‘lone wolf’ to describe individual acts of political violence draws on extremely rank racist, sexist, and alarmist logic. When you compare the sparse literature on lone wolf terrorism and the slough of articles on the topic, one thing is clear: definitions of lone wolf terrorism are “fuzzy”, disparate, and often rely on contradiction and assumptions about mental health and motivation. The defining feature of the lone wolf terrorist is his or her (actually it is almost always a male) lack of wolf pack (I can’t get past the Hangover reference either, but stay with me). They are loners, committing political violence. Below, I raise several questions about the literature and discussion on lone wolf terrorism in the hopes of inviting dialogue and debate about why this term has such political purchase.

1. Is it possible that ‘lone wolves’ are neither lone nor wolves? The problems with definition:
The US Government defines terrorism as “premeditated politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” The overarching argument is lone wolf terrorism differs from ‘regular’ terrorism in that it is orchestrated by an individual. Yet the existing definition of terrorism seems to include agents as well as groups. So what purpose does ‘lone wolf’ serve? If ‘lone wolves’ are defined as acting politically, doesn’t this assume- by definition- the affiliation, or at least association, with a larger group? Recent research into 119 lone-actor terrorists in the United States and Europe, concluded that the individuals clearly expressed their beliefs and grievances to others, primarily family, friends, or an online community. This seems to indicate that ‘lone wolves’ aren’t that lonely. Continue reading

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Women’s Integration into Combat Stuck in a Physical Stalemate

Last week 60 Minutes ran a feature called Women in Combat: Cracking the Last All-Male Bastion of the US Military.  The segment, led by David Martin, focused on Marine Infantry Officer training. He finds that, although the Marines are required to integrate women as a result of the removal of the combat exclusion, no women have made it through the rigorous physical training requirements. This re-raises key questions around women in combat:
*Do women have what it takes to serve in combat? and
*Should the military adjust its standards to accommodate women?
Physical standards are- by far- the greatest sticking point when it comes to debates on women in combat. Opponents of gender integration have long argued that the average physical differences between men and women are proof that women are inferior. They also argue that any adjustments in the current physical standards would be tantamount to ‘softening’ ‘diluting’ or weakening the standards and thereby reducing military effectiveness. Focusing on whether women can meet the current physical standards maintains a stalemate in terms of their full integration into the US military and limit the military’s ability to develop standards that reflect modern warfare. There are three reasons for this:

1. Physical standards are out of date and disconnected from the job.
2. Physical standards are not as objective as we think.
3. There are no exclusive combat roles, and therefore no need for exclusive combat physical standards. Let me explain: Continue reading

“and Elinor?”: when winning a Nobel Prize isn’t enough…

This is a guest post from Leslie Johns, an Assistant Professor of political science at UCLA. 

The Public Choice Society—an academic organization of scholars who study the interaction of politics and economics—recently announced that it has created a new award for scholarly research: the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Prize.  The announcement of this prize is provoking an intense reaction because of its name: “The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Prize”?

Elinor Ostrom was well-known to political scientists, policy analysts, and economists.  As a graduate student during the 1960s in the Political Science Department at UCLA, where I work, Ostrom overcame tremendous odds and blatant discrimination to earn her Ph.D.  Her reward for this work was being offered a job as a secretary.  After decades of climbing the academic ladder and publishing path-breaking scholarship on the regulation of shared resources, it seemed as though Ostrom had finally been recognized for her courage and intellect.  Despite the fact that she never received a degree from or a faculty appointment in an economics department, Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009. She was the first, and remains the only, woman to win this prize. Continue reading

The Politics of Artificial Intelligence and Automation

The Pew Research Internet Project released a report yesterday, “AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs” where it describes a bit of a contradictory vision: the future is bright and the future is bleak. The survey, issued to a nonrandomized group of “experts” in the technology industry and academia, asked particular questions about the future impacts of robotic and artificial intelligence advances. What gained the most attention from the report is the contradictory findings on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation on jobs.

According to Pew, 48% of respondents feel that by 2025 AI and robotic devices will displace a “significant number of both blue-and white-collar workers—with many expressing concern that this will lead to vast increases in income inequality, masses of people who are effectively unemployable, and breakdowns in the social order.” The other 52% did not envision this bleak future. The optimists did not deny that the robots are coming, but they estimate that human beings will figure out new jobs to do along the way. As Hal Varlan, chief economist for Google, explains:

“If ‘displace more jobs’ means ‘eliminate dull, repetitive, and unpleasant work,’ the answer would be yes. How unhappy are you that your dishwasher has replaced washing dishes by hand, your washing machine has displaced washing clothes by hand, or your vacuum cleaner has replaced hand cleaning? My guess is this ‘job displacement’ has been very welcome, as will the ‘job displacement’ that will occur over the next 10 years.”

The view is nicely summed up by another optimist, Francois-Dominique Armingaud: “The main purpose of progress now is to allow people to spend more life with their loved ones instead of spoiling it with overtime while others are struggling in order to access work.”

The question before us, however, is not whether we would like more leisure time, but whether the change in relations of production – yes a Marxist question – will yield the corresponding emancipation from drudgery. In Marx’s utopia, where technological development reaches a pinnacle, one is free to “do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.” The viewpoints above have this particular utopic ring to them.

Yet we should be very wary of accepting either view (technological utopianism/dystopianism) too quickly. Marx, for instance, was a highly nuanced and careful thinker when it came to theorizing about power, freedom, and economics. Mostly because we must realize that any relations in the market are still, at bottom, social and political ones between people. In fact, if one automatically assumes that increased automation will lead to greater personal time a la Marx, then one misses the crucial point of Marx: he was talking about his communist ideal. Up until one reaches that point – if it is even possible – technological development that results in the lessening of labor time “does not in fact lead to a lessening of bound time for the producing population. Quite the contrary, the result of this unprecedented transformation and extension of society’s productive powers is the simultaneous lengthening and intensification (…) of the working day” (Booth, 1989). Thus even though I am able to run my dishwasher, my washing machine and my vacuum cleaner at the same time, I am still working. In fact, given the reality that in my household my partner or I do these tasks on the weekend or in the evenings, means that we are working “overtime;” so much for “spending more life time” together.

Indeed, the entire debate over the future of AI and automation is a debate that we’ve really been having already, it just happens to wrap up neatly all of the topics under one heading. For when we discuss which jobs are likely to “go the way of the dodo” we are ignoring all of the power relations inherent here. Who is deciding which jobs go? Who is likely to feel the adverse affects of these decisions? Do the job destroyers have a moral obligation to create (or educate for) new jobs?  Is there a gendered dynamic to the work? While I doubt that Mr. Varlan’s responses were intended in gendered terms, they are in fact gendered. That this work was chosen as his example is telling. First, house cleaning is typically unremunerated work and not even considered in the “economy.” Second, these particular tasks are seen as traditionally feminized. Is it telling, then, that we want to automate “pink collar jobs” first?

When it comes to the types of work on the chopping block, we are looking at very polarized sets of skills. AI and robotics will surely be able to do some “jobs” better. That is where “better” means faster, cheaper, and with fewer mistakes. However, it does not mean “better” in terms of any other identifiable characteristic from the endpoint of a product. A widget still looks like a widget.   Thus “better” is defined by the owners of capital deciding what to automate. We are back to Marx.

The optimistic crowd cites the fact that technological advances usher in new types of jobs, and thus innovation is tantamount to job creation. However, unless there is a concomitant plan to educate the new—and old—class of workers whose jobs are now automated, we are left with an increasing polarization of skills and income inequality. Increasing polarization means that the stabilizing force in politics, the middle class, is also shrinking.

The optimism, in my opinion, is the result of sitting in a particularly privileged position. Most of those touting the virtues of AI and robotics are highly skilled, usually white men, considered as experts. Experts entail that they have a skill set, a good education, and a job that probably cannot be automated. As Georgiana Voss argues, “many of the jobs resilient to computerization are not just those held by men; but rather the structure and nature of these jobs are constructed around specific combinations of social, cultural, educational and financial capital which are most likely to be held by white men.” Moreover, that these powerful few are dictating the future technological drives also means that the technological future will be imbued with their values. Technology is not value neutral; what gets made, who it gets made for, and how it is designed are morally loaded questions.

These questions gain even greater consequence when we consider that the creation on the other end is an AI. Artificial Intelligence is an attempt at mimicking human intelligence, but human intelligence is not merely limited to memorizing facts or even inferring the meaning of a conversation. Intelligence also carries with it particular ideas about norms, ethics, and behavior. But before we can even speculate about how “strong” an AI the tech giants can make in their attempt at freeing us from our bonds of menial labor, we have to ask how they are creating the AI. What are they teaching it? How are they teaching it? And if, from their often privileged positions, are they imparting biases and values to it that we ought to question?

The future of AI and robotics is not merely a Luddite worry over job loss. This worry is real, to be sure, but there is a broader question about the very values that we want to create and perpetuate in society. I thus side with Seth Finkelstein’s view: “A technological advance by itself can either be positive or negative for jobs, depending on the social structure as a whole. This is not a technological consequence; rather, it’s a political choice.”

Bergdahl and the Band of Brothers Dilemma: understanding the ‘patriot’/’traitor’ debate

Let’s be honest, the circumstances surrounding the ‘prisoner swap’ between Bowe Bergdahl and five high-ranking Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay just don’t add up. The initial narrative President Obama pitched of the prisoner swap as a signal of successful negotiations, a necessary response for a fellow soldier whose health was in jeopardy, and further evidence that the ‘war’ in Afghanistan is indeed drawing to a close, has completely disintegrated as waves of questions continue to be raised about the facts, legality, and implications of the exchange, including:
Did President Obama break the law by not giving Congress 30 days notice of the prisoner swap?
Was Bergdahl a prisoner of war? If he deserted, is he still a prisoner of war?
What’s with Bergdahl’s father- his obvious beard, and evidence he has been, studying Pashto (he used it in the recent press conference, sparking deep discomfort among some) and trying to learn about his son’s captors?
What is Qatar’s role as an intermediary? How will keeping these 5 detainees in Qatar ensure American safety, as Obama claims?
If Bergdahl was a prisoner of war, and this was a prisoner swap, how does this impact the US classification of Guantanamo Bay detainees as ‘enemy combatants’ for over a decade? If they are now prisoners of war, do they get prisoner of war rights….finally?
In addition to these questions, discussions about Bergdahl are now largely centered around 1) the legality of the swap, and 2) the circumstances surrounding Berdahl’s initial disappearance from his base 5 years ago. The former debate is playing out between lawyers, politicians, and the media. At the same time, the latter debate has taken on a life of its own- it seems to be a sort of public trial and judgement on Bergdahl’s character, and whether he is ‘worth’ the efforts made to return him to America. As the discussions descend into a “bumper-sticker debate,” characterized by cliche claims and concerns,  the following questions dominate the debate: Is he a deserter and traitor, who felt “ashamed” to be a soldier and was disillusioned with the war in Afghanistan? Or, is he a patriot, who served bravely and ‘suffered enough’ as a prisoner of war? What is more interesting than the ‘facts’ surrounding the story, is the frame being used. This is a classic band of brothers problem.
The band of brothers narrative has been used in reference to the US military for decades- and has become particularly salient during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ideals of the ‘special’ bonds of soldiers, comradeship, and the need to put one’s brother first have all become such embedded cliches that we hardly question them. It helps that the HBO TV series Band of Brothers spoon fed us the key elements of the band of brothers myth: war is primarily about combat, the ‘real’ story is the bonds between the men- not the politics of the war itself, the non-sexual bonds and relationships between men are exceptional- romantic in their own way, and essential to warfare. So here we are, with Bergdahl, who represents a band of brothers (BOB) problem. In fact, the ‘patriot’/’traitor’ debate is informed entirely by the band of brother myth and its implicit messages about soldier and national identity. Continue reading

8 Unanswered Political Questions from the Oscars

I know it has already been a week, but I’m still thinking about the Oscars. Not the fashion (boring!! predictable!!), or the hostess (boring!! predictable!!) or the winners (boring!! predictable!!), or the speeches (ok you get my point)- but rather a short list of questions I still need help with. Answers welcome.

1. Was bell hooks right? Was 12 Years a Slave “sentimental clap-trap” that “negated the female voice?” What were the politics of white washing, white guilt, and white erasure at the awards?

2. How the hell did Joaquin Phoenix NOT get nominated for ‘Her’ and how DID Leonardo DiCaprio get nominated for ‘WOWS’? Does this tell us anything about hegemonic masculinity….or more about pity for Leo?

3. Why were so many of the best pic nominations fixated on some distorted nostalgia (about slavery, HIV, they ‘golden era’ of American history/finance) and what does this tell us about our (in)ability to cope with the present?

4. Are strapless peplum dresses and backward necklaces ironic now?

5. If Mathhew Mcconaghey hadn’t lost weight, would we care about his performance? Would he have won the Oscar? As Ted Kerr noted in his excellent post 47 Things I Talk about When I talk about the Dallas Buyers Club, “It is interesting how Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto get rewarded for losing weight, and acting sick, while people living with HIV have to fight to be well, appear well and be recognized. #everydaysurvival” Continue reading

How Do You Change a Policy That Doesn’t Exist?: the combat exclusion one year later

126074_600-1Despite numerous calls to ‘Let Women Fight’, internal reviews of the policy, and growing evidence of women’s contributions to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the January 2013 announcement that the combat exclusion would be removed was not entirely expected. For years leading up to the announcement, Congress and the Department of Defense had justified the exclusion as essential to national security. Moreover, less than 12 months before the decision to remove the exclusion, then–Pentagon press secretary George Little announced that although 14,000 new combat related jobs would be opened to women, infantry and direct combat roles would remain off limits.

  • So what did the ‘policy change’ mean and why was it initiated?

Rather than speculate on the rationale and motivations behind the policy about-face, it is more important to understand that by the time it was announced that the combat exclusion would be removed, it no longer existed.
In fact, the announcement to ‘let women fight’ should be seen as a PR stunt rather than a policy change. Here’s why… Continue reading

Why Write About Gender if You are Going to Get Blasted for it: diplomacy lessons from Miss Universe?

This week Dan Drezner hosted a guest post on the politics of Miss Universe and I responded by pointing out the lack of/and the need for a gender analysis in his post. In his response, Drezner asks an important question: “Why on God’s green earth would I want to venture out from my professional comfort zone of American foreign policy and global political economy to blog about the politics of gender — just so I can be told by experts on gender politics that I’m doing it wrong?
I think we should discuss this. I assume there are many others in the field who feel the same way. Writing about anything political can evoke a shit-storm of responses- sometimes even more so when writing about issues we are less comfortable with and less confident about. Not to belabor the point, but I thought Drezner missed the gender politics- not that he got it wrong. But the question he raises deserves some attention. So why should non gender experts bother? Why deal with the possibility of offending, misrepresenting, omitting in a gender post- or when using gender in one’s larger body of work? Is it easier to just ignore gender? First, it is important to separate engaging with gender from writing sexist remarks about women. I think any post that writes about women in a sexist way doesn’t count as engaging with gender and certainly deserves the blasts it inevitably will get in the comments section. But feminists and gender scholars should think seriously about how best to engage those who make a genuine effort to think through gender- even when we think they didn’t do a great job.

On one hand, the point is that gender should not be seen a sub-set ‘expertise’ that one has or doesn’t have. If you are an expert on American foreign policy, you should already be confident in thinking through and writing about the gender aspects of foreign policy. On the other hand, that just isn’t the reality of IR and I don’t want my critiques to make someone feel like they should give up trying to engage. And I can empathize. I feel much less comfortable writing about race, LGBTQA and queer issues (amongst many others) and sometimes when I try I get blasted to the point that I wish I hadn’t bothered. That’s not useful is it? So how do we move forward? Continue reading

The Token Woman on Hiring Committees: time for a change

Policies and practices set up to avoid discrimination in the past have a tendency to expire. Remember, ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ was originally set up to protect gay service-members within the US forces. Similarly, the often unofficial rule of having one woman on hiring committees has reached its expiry date. Primarily as a result of effective equality and diversity campaigns in the 1980s and early 1990s, many departments instituted either an explicit or informal policy to include ‘at least’ one woman on each hiring committee- usually after finding that most hiring committees included no women, and most hires were men. The result- in many cases- has been that there has been one woman on hiring committees in academia for nearly 3 decades. The problem is that while the number of female PhD graduates increases, and the number of female applicants increases, the lonely- token- woman on the hiring committee remains standard practice at many institutions. Sure, there is evidence that women can be just as sexist as men when it comes to hiring practices; however, there is also evidence that women offer a different perspective than men (particularly in terms of ‘what constitutes-good/real- political science‘). Changing the makeup of hiring committees could be an opportunity to change a hiring culture in academia in which men are not only more likely to be hired, but will also be paid more and promoted faster than their female counterparts.

Let’s focus on tokenism. The one-woman policy constitutes tokenism for at least three reasons: Continue reading

Monday Linkage: targeting mothers, uteruses, and the key to ending congressional deadlock

  • According to economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, “gender smarts” were key to ending the recent congressional deadlock. She argues: “Unlocking gridlock in government, it turns out, depends on precisely the mechanism that unlocks competitive strength in the private sector: a diverse team (laden with gender smarts and cultural fluency) managed by leaders whose aggregate of experience motivates them to manage inclusively.”
  • A new “ism”: motherism, or prejudice against stay-at-home-moms.The Guardian reports that- according to Dr Aric Sigman, a biologist and psychologist- “stay-at-home mothers are increasingly facing a damaging but unspoken prejudice that assumes they are stupid, lazy and unattractive.”
  • Medical staff working in Syria are reporting that snipers appear to be targeting pregnant women- with several cases of heavily pregnant women being shot in the uterus.
  • In a great post entitled “Why so few women in Nobel science?” Debasish Mitra laments the lack of gender equality amongst the past winners and lists six women who deserved to win the Nobel prize for science. Continue reading

Monday Morning Linkage- it’s all about balance

Citation Counts are Like Democracy

There is much gnashing about citations of late.  This tweet inspired the ensuing spew below:

But also this series of posts at the Monkey Cage last week on gender bias in citations (the link points to the final piece in the series, so it has links to the rest of the posts) raises questions about using citations as a metric of success.   If the numbers are problematic, what should we do?

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Gender and Inclusion in the Profession

duckThe Monkey Cage has launched a symposium on the gender gap in academia. Jane Mansbridge, Barbara Walter, Sara Mitchell, Lisa Martin, Ryan Powers, Daniel Maliniak, Rick Wilson, Ashley Leeds, Beth Simmons, and David Lake will explore a range of issues over the course of this week.

I know that this symposium will lead to a productive discussion that will move us forward. My political psychologist side would like to see this as well as other conversations about diversity and equality also touch upon perceptions of inclusion. Social and organizational psychologists have long highlighted the importance perceived inclusion-exclusion. Institutional safeguards to prevent discrimination, for example, may not always help minorities “feel” included. “Women and minorities are especially welcome to apply” is a boilerplate we see in job ads in our discipline. Does this really make women feel included? And sometimes inclusion can feel like exclusion. A female scholar may feel like she is being included to fill a quota. Research indicates that female graduate students are more likely to drop out. What is the role of individual beliefs about exclusion in their decision-making? These are not easy questions, but I think confronting explicit and implicit exclusion requires taking perception seriously. Continue reading

Make Love and War? Sex and Syria …

Among the more famous anti-war slogans in the US is the 1960s’ declaration of “make love, not war.” I found myself thinking about that phrase when a student sent me a link to the Daily Show on Monday – where Jon Stewart made some insightful comments about sex, gender, and the presumably impending military action in Syria.

And yes, I used the words “insightful comments” to describe something Jon Stewart said. Those of you who know me know how hard that was to say. But his description works for me …. and suggests that “make love not war” is actually a false dichotomy.

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The Glass Half Empty: Gendered Problems in Academic Networking

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Sara McLaughlin Mitchell, Professor and Department Chair of Political Science at the University of Iowa. It is Part 1 of a 2-part discussion. 

Many recent posts (e.g., posts here by David Lake, Dan Nexon, and Laura Sjoberg, and elsewhere by Christian Davenport and Steve Saideman) have discussed professional networking in political science.  Given my belief that academic experiences are not universal, a viewpoint articulated by Will Moore (http://willopines.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/some-dimensions-over-which-the-return-to-networking-is-not-uniform/), I add another perspective to this debate.  I focus on several problems female scholars might encounter in male dominated academic environments, especially as they try to become professionally networked into these groups. In so doing, I draw largely on my experiences at conferences I have attended frequently, including APSA, ISA, Peace Science Society, and the Society for Political Methodology. Gendered problems include:

1) Working hard to find people who look like you

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Become the Survey Participant! New Survey on Teacher Evaluations

In case you are interested in expanding our knowledge of the use/misuse of teacher evaluations, Lisa Martin of Wisconsin-Madison has a short survey that is worth taking:

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The Aussie Military Redefinig Masculinity Amidst Another Scandal?

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) finds themselves in yet another sex scandal this week. The force has barely recovered from last year’s ‘skype scandal,’ which involved members of a defense force academy videotaping sex without permission and streaming it to other members of the academy. This time it is alleged that officers have videotaped sex with other colleagues and civilian women and distributed the videos via the defence email system. It is a disappointing revelation considering the promises to rid the force of sexism following the scandal last year. If the allegations prove true, it seems that things are getting worse, not better, for women in the ADF. Yet there is a glimmer of hope. The Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General David Morison has come out with a public video statement that shows true courage and has already been hailed as a feminist manifesto. Continue reading

Thursday evening linkage

indexHappy Valentine’s Day Duckies! Here are a few interesting links on love and gender.

First, for those of you feeling completely clueless when it comes to romance, the Huffington Post put up a list of Five Courses about Sex and Love, including “Beyond Hooking Up: Creating Meaningful Relationships” — a Chemistry and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies course at Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts) and “Dating and Mating” — a Women’s Studies course at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina).

Second, rather than chocolates, Ms Magazine hands out a list of suggestions for ways to mark Valentine’s Day with feminist activism.

Third, the Daily Beast offers a list of Nine Things Women Actually Want for Valentine’s Day, including more realistic orgasm predictions (it’s not too late!!).

Finally, thousands of men and women around the world are focused on ending violence against women rather than candies and roses. The One Billion Rising campaign is encouraging people to walk, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence against women. There have been a variety of flash mobs and rallies as a result. Continue reading

The Societal Implications of Women in Combat

This is a guest post by Dorit Geva. Geva is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Central European University, and has written a book on conscription politics in France and the United States. Megan H. Mackenzie wrote an earlier post on this topic.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement that some 230,000 combat jobs might open for American servicewomen in the armed forces is a watershed moment for the American military.  But the consequences will resonate beyond his announcement’s effects on professional soldiers.  Since the 1980s, the legal reasoning barring women from registering with the draft has been that women do not serve in combat positions.  Panetta’s surprise announcement will not only transform the career opportunities of women in uniform, but could affect every woman living on American soil. Continue reading

Lifting the Combat Ban for Women: why the policy change is the right choice

combatToday it was announced that the combat ban for women will be fully removed within the US military. This reverses a long-standing policy that restricts women from serving below the brigade level  in positions specified as  front-line, ground combat. Given that the policy had been recently reviewed, the change may come as a surprise to some, however there are three main reasons why this policy had to be changed right now.

First, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has long been a supporter of gender integration within the forces and has publicly acknowledged the exclusion as contradicting operational practice and untenable. Panetta plans to step down from his post after only 18 months in the job, making the removal of the combat exclusion his legacy.

Second, the Department of Defense is facing a lawsuit from several female soldiers and backed by the ACLU. The suit has raised significant publicity surrounding the issue of women in combat and the DoD would have had a difficult time defending claims that the policy is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Third, growing evidence of women’s contributions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including in ground combat, have become impossible to ignore. It is widely acknowledged that there are no ‘front’ lines in insurgency warfare. Moreover, women have contributed to offensive missions in recent wars, died in hostile fire, contributed in all-female teams during insurgency missions, and even been awarded for their valor in combat. The contradictions associated with having a combat exclusion in a military that provides combat pay for some women and honors their contributions to combat have just become to extreme.

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