Combatting the Gender Gulf

TitleCombatting the Gender Gulf
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsCampbell, D'Ann
JournalMinerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military
Date Published12/1992

Should women serve in combat? It seemed a hypothetical question until the American public, transfixed by saturation coverage of the Gulf War saw for themselves servicewomen performing a wide variety of functions -- and getting shot at, killed, wounded and captured. They were not allowed to fight back, however. So impressed was Congress that in 1992 it repealed a 1948 law which prohibited women from flying planes with combat missions. Opposition was strong from an old guard in the military, and their allies in Congress, who felt the change was unnatural, unbecoming, unnecessary, or detrimental to the combat mission of the forces. Supporters noted that a military seeking to maximize its performance would not create artificial barriers. They felt those barriers reflected an unthinking sexism, and tended to encourage negative attitudes ranging from grudging acceptance to low-grade sexual harassment to physical assault. 

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This article is a reprint from an article that appeared in Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review v. 1, no. 2, Fall 1992.

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