Marine Corps Lieutenant Training to Allow Female VolunteersJuly 12, 2012
The Marine Corps, the most male-dominated armed service, recently announced the integration of women into the Combat Endurance Test, a rigorous 86-day training program for top-performing lieutenants. Known as the Marine Corps’ most grueling course, the Combat Endurance Test includes physical obstacles, endurance training, and challenging exams about assembling and using weaponry, navigation, and equipment. Currently, this test is only offered to top-performing male Marine lieutenants, but women officers will be permitted to volunteer for the test in September. The female Marines will be under critical evaluation, as their inclusion is an experiment in an ongoing study to determine whether women should take on more extensive combat roles.
Women still are not officially permitted to fight in battle, although many have indeed fought and died in combat. In February, the Pentagon began to ease restrictions on women in combat by formally allowing them to serve closer to the front line. After that decision, the Army and the Marine Corps began to study and test the integration of women into positions and divisions traditionally reserved for men.
The introduction of women into the Combat Endurance Test is an important step toward the broader inclusion of women in our armed forces. AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex and pushes for the equal treatment of women in the military — not just in combat but also in robust anti-harassment and anti-assault policies and access to health care, including contraception and abortion.
This post was written by AAUW Public Policy Intern Laura Dietrich.