Saturday, June 16, 2012

Women are Women (And I Love It)

I know that most of my readers are fans of Patrice over at Rural Revolution. In fact, most of you probably came from there when Patrice was kind enough to provide me with some linkage.

If you are a fan of hers, then you certainly read her article on WND regarding equal pay. I would like to add a few observations from my point of view on this subject matter.

I really think she hits the spot and the evidence she provides is empirical fact. I know that when I have held discussions on this subject matter with my left-wing mother, these facts tend to bring the topic to a close because she can’t refute them. Facts are stubborn things.

But I would also like to add my own thoughts based on many years of experience. As you are aware, I spent a long time in the service of this great nation (it was an honor). And my observations are based on this time. I would also like to add these thoughts are my own, and in no way official military policy or stance. Not that military officials would touch this with a ten foot pole, but I felt I needed to add this to keep my butt out of sling (even though I am now retired).

One of the points Patrice made was that women don’t gravitate towards the high-paying jobs that can be very dangerous. And I agree with this. As a mentor and supervisor of the fine men and women who chose to serve, I noted that men leaned towards the jobs that required strength, daring, and fortitude. The women tended to lean towards the jobs that required diligence and patience. In other words, men took on the jobs that required pulling a trigger while the women took on the role of caring and support. And I think any military recruiter will tell you that when folks come into their office to explore military options, not many women ask about jobs that require trigger pulling as part of the routine duty (SpecOps, Infantry).

I know there has been a movement afoot in recent years to get women into these male-dominated duties. But much of this is being led by women who have never actually served so they really have no reference point. Oh sure, they can march out the occasionally woman who felt slighted because she couldn’t go to SEAL School. But the overall population of women that I knew while serving didn’t make getting into SEAL School a priority (or even a desire).

As a supervisor and a mentor it was my job to understand what those who served with me were thinking and feeling. During these sessions it was very rare for me to hear from a woman that they were interested in going to Airborne School (jumping out of airplanes). But it was a constant with the men, especially in my later assignments. And keep this in mind; women were authorized to go to this school, as long as they could meet the physical requirements.

This was very evident on the firing range when training with weapons. In all my years of training on the ranges one thing was quite clear to me. Men, no matter their level of experience (or lack thereof), seemed to regard the weapon as an extension of themselves; a part of them as it were. Women, on the other hand, treated the weapon as a tool necessary to complete the job. This is not to say that women couldn’t shoot, far from it. Several of the women that were part of my last organization qualified as experts, with the right to wear the marksmanship ribbon. In fact, I would have to say, as a percentage, there were more women than men with this qualification. But it just seemed to me that women and men looked at the weapons from different points of view.

Another way to support this trend is in the field of truck driving. Years ago, women truckers were an oddity, not very common. No doubt, much of this had to do with bias. But much of it had to do with the danger inherent with driving a truck and the long time spent away from home. But this is no longer the case. Trucking has become much safer over the years as laws for on-duty and driving time had been put in place and enforced. Also, many companies have developed programs to get drivers home more frequently. Women drivers are no longer a curiosity they once were.

In closing I would like to reassure my readers that I am not some Neanderthal whose knuckles drag on the ground. At my retirement ceremony I pointed out one officer, who was a woman, that I would have followed her into battle with a spoon. She was that notable exception to all that was discussed above. But she didn’t do it because of some feminist desire to put men into their place. She did it because she could do it, wanted to do it, and was good at it. But even saying all that, she did tell me in a moment of candor that once she became a mother-to-be, all of that was done and her Army husband would be the gun-toting member of the family.

1 comment:

  1. You rock...great article and your thoughts are fantastic....And HURRAY for the lady at the end of your article...She is a true hero for saying that being a mother was tops on her list....Ok, you didn't say that, but I took it as her saying that and would get out of harms way for her family and hubby would be the gun- toting guy...
    Thanks for this new post...
    Love from NC