I’ve been wanting to make a regular practice of writing about gender issues in security. However, regular readers will know that my promises to write about a given thing rarely pan out.
So I’ve decided to start doing a recurring roundup of issues that deal with gender in security but with no claims to regularity or comprehensiveness. I know myself enough to know that promising either would make the whole thing just another source of stress and no fun at all. When other refuges have come and gone, this blog will remain the place where all that I don’t feel like doing can go directly to hell.
The UK Royal Navy announced on May 4th that it has admitted its first three women sailors on board a submarine. Another milestone for a social movement that is rapidly changing the face of military affairs:
Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral David Steel said: “Women have been serving in ships at sea with the Royal Navy for more than 20 years and integrating them into the Submarine Service completes their inclusion into all seagoing branches.”
The Royal Navy first allowed women to go to sea in 1990.
The US lifted its ban on women in submarines in 2010. While fourteen of the US Navy’s 70 submarine crews are integrated at the officer level, enlisted submarine integration is still waiting on a task force to “develop details” (PDF). Integration of future submarines is limited by the additional cost of constructing permanent female-only berthing facilities on board. This is the classic integration problem for naval forces that won’t simply live in coed circumstances.
Local Afghan police leaders met with officials in Victoria, Australia to discuss the protection of women after the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdraws from Afghanistan:
Najibullah Samsour, the chief of police of a part of Kabul known as District 10, said the goal was to win the support of the Australian government in combating an expected increase in violence against women after the forces withdraw.
I’m actually a bit surprised to hear that an Afghan official would go out of his way to deal with such an issue. Hopefully their discussion was a serious one–Western reports do not bode well for the future of women’s rights in the country.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has gone on record stating that the US military’s ban on service for transgender individuals “continually should be reviewed.” Secretary Hagel went on to state that “every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.” Hagel’s point may sound obvious a cool two centuries after the Age of Enlightenment, but to hear a defense secretary embrace equality of opportunity would have been unthinkable a few short years ago.
Women Veteran Services
Finally, Stars and Stripes reports that women veterans are under-seeking Veteran Affairs services relative to their need. This is another classic problem faced by government service providers–just because the resources are there doesn’t mean people use them or are even aware of their existence.