Should Women Be Allowed into Combat?

October 13, 1989

Report Outline
Special Focus


Earlier this year Canada removed virtually all restrictions keeping women in the military out of potential combat positions. Many feminists say the United States should follow Canada's example. But some military experts believe there is a conflict between fully integrating women into the military services and maintaining the strength and readiness of the armed forces.

Go to top


In time of war, the United States has always sought to shield its young women from the brutal experience of combat. That burden has been borne by men—men like former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, who served as a young Marine officer in Vietnam.

“It was nothing,” Webb recalled, “to begin walking at midnight laden with packs and weapons and ammunition and supplies, 70 pounds or more of gear, and still be walking when the sun broke over mud-slick paddies that had sucked our boots all night. We carried our own gear, and when we took casualties we carried the weapons of those who had been hit.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Women's Rights
Apr. 03, 2020  The Equal Rights Amendment
Apr. 17, 2015  Girls' Rights
Apr. 03, 2012  Women's Rights
Nov. 13, 2009  Women in the Military
May 2008  Women's Rights
Mar. 21, 2008  Women in Politics
Feb. 28, 1997  Feminism's Future
Oct. 13, 1989  Should Women Be Allowed into Combat?
Jul. 28, 1989  Do Pregnant Women Lose Legal Rights?
Sep. 17, 1982  Women and Politics
Dec. 15, 1978  Equal Rights Fight
Jun. 23, 1978  The Rights Revolution
Jun. 13, 1975  International Women's Year
Jul. 05, 1973  Women's Consciousness Raising
Oct. 11, 1972  Women Voters
Aug. 05, 1970  Status of Women
Feb. 20, 1956  Women in Politics
Jan. 24, 1951  Womanpower in Mobilization
Apr. 04, 1946  Equal Rights Amendment
May 31, 1927  The Woman's Vote in National Elections
Women in the Military