When comparing men's ability to women's ability, is there really a big difference? Many people believe that
differences do take place, but how? Both men and women have hopes, dreams, strengths, weaknesses, and goals.
Even though these similarities exist, women are still sometimes thought to be lower than their male peers. There
have been many cases in which women felt they were being treated differently than the males around them. But,
did you ever think there would be the problem of inequality between men and women in America's defense
system? Both men and women have the right to serve in the military; but, many times women face discrimination
and the problem of being unaccepted, possibly affecting women's ability to serve their country. The military was
fully integrated in the mid-1970s (Moskos 107). Yet, twenty-some years later, women are still trying to gain full
equality. In those past twenty years, there have been many courageous women who have been fighting their way
into record-breaking positions so their male peers would accept them. Two of these women are Shannon Faulkner
and Shannon Workman. Faulkner was the first woman to become a cadet at the Citadel as she walked through the
gates on August 12, 1995. Faulkner entered the 152-year-old military school located in South Carolina as a "knob,"
or a first year cadet. Upon her arrival, the military made exceptions to certain rules for her, one being that older
male cadets could not go through her drawers looking for underwear that was not folded properly. A private
bathroom with surveillance cameras was also constructed for Faulkner to prevent any foul play (Sack 6). The
second of these two women was Shannon Workman. In 1994, she became the first woman to qualify as a female
pilot who was combat ready in the Navy (Schmitt 15). Although the military and the public recognize women like
Faulkner and Workman, many women who work to reach their goals go unrecognized. Women have been a part of
the Marine Corps since 1943; but today (after over fifty years) women make up a mere five- percent of the Corps
population. In the Navy, women were invited onto hospital ships in 1977. Today they too make up a small portion of
the system with only ten- percent. The Air Force and the Army have the greatest percentage of women. The
Army has eleven- percent and the Air Force has fourteen- percent (Moskos 108). Although women have been
partially accepted in America's defense system, inequality is still found in combat areas. Legally, women are not
permitted to serve in any units that have missions in ground or front-line combat. In the army, women are not
allowed to serve in infantry, armor-force and cannon artillery force units as well as combat engineers units (Moskos
107). Considering the fact that most army positions are combat-related, what jobs would that leave to women?
Well, women are generally left with positions such as truck drivers, medics, helicopter pilots, and cafeteria staff. Do
you think that women enroll in the army to drive trucks? Or do they want to defend their country in combat?
Although women have more possibilities in the Air Force, they are also prohibited from being flyer fighters and
bomber plane pilots (Moskos 108). Last, in the Navy women are still prohibited from being stationed on submarines
and minesweepers. They also cannot hold the position of a Navy SEAL. A Navy SEAL is the most elite military
force known to man, and they specialize in SEa, Air and Land, which is where they receive their name. The fact
that women are not allowed to be Navy SEALS was the basis of a movie entitled "G.I. Jane." In this movie you can
see that because a women would like to be a Navy SEAL she must pose as a man. This means that in order for a
woman to be something that she would truly like to be she must in a way mask her true identity. Women do not
only face a struggle in combat; they are also striving to be seen among military ranking officers as well. Statistics
show that only twenty percent of jobs in the Marine Corps are open to women. The Army follows with fifty-one