Advocates for fully integrating the armed forces on Tuesday accused the Marines of cherry-picking data to bolster the case to keep women from certain combat jobs.
The talk comes ahead of the Thursday deadline for military branches to present evidence for exemptions to a new rule set to go into effect Jan. 1. The rule will open all military jobs to women.
“If I had a daughter, based on all of the comments that are being made … I would question my daughter’s decision to join an organization (the Marine Corps) that was so adamantly opposed to the full equal footing of women,” Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano said during a media roundtable Tuesday.
Germano and several other active-duty and retired military officers called for all military positions to be open to women, facing the same standards as men. The group took exception to the findings of a nine-month Marine Corps study, which included elaborate battlefield simulations, aimed at examining the impacts of integrating women into combat arms units. The conclusions have only been partially released and have raised the specter of unit cohesion problems and increased rates of injuries for women.
A main point of contention is the study looked at the average performance of all the women — as opposed to looking at the possibility that some women could meet standards.
“You cannot compare averages, this has to be an individual evaluation process,” retired Army Col. Ellen Haring said at the roundtable.