Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All-Women US Navy Team Breaks Records

Via The Mary Sue, the first all-women US Navy construction team broke some building records in Afghanistan:

"The Seabees were first formed during World War II as a means of employing soldiers who were also skilled at construction. Women first joined the Seabees in 1972 and started serving alongside their male counterparts in 1994. In this particular situation, there simply weren’t a lot of male Seabees around in the middle of November, when the construction was needed. But the women from Naval Base Ventura County were ready to go to work. When they showed up, naturally some less-evolved soldiers 'rolled their eyes' at the sight of an all-female team. But then they went ahead and worked 12-hour days, finishing the barracks in a period of two weeks. Normally, it takes three. They also went ahead and installed electricity and plumbing, then added an operations center and a gym. Since they had the time, you see."

I just finished reading an interesting non-fiction book on women who were nurses, doctors, and women-at-arms in and during World War I (review possibly forthcoming!).

So despite my mixed thoughts on pacifism and the acceptability of military action, I can appreciate that military service was historically a path toward full citizenship rights for women, that women in the military subvert the traditional gender narrative of male-Protectors and female-Protected, and that contrary to ignorant nay-sayers, many women are willing and capable of serving in both combat and non-combat roles.

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