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     A military advisory panel announced that they felt women should finally be permitted to serve fully in front line combat units, in order to create a level playing field for all qualified service members. Is this "The Final Frontier" of the fight for equality for women? This appears to be a last gasp change in military policy and procedure. Years ago, African-American, or Black as they were called then, fighting units were kept apart from white service men, especially in the Army and Marines. And until recently, gays in the service were not allowed to be asked if they were gay, and it was forbidden that they reveal that they were gay. If it was discovered that a serviceman was gay, he was given a dishonorable discharge. Also, until last year the Navy forbid women to serve in the close quarters of submarines. First Blacks, then gays, now women. The U. S. of A. now truly may have a fighting force for all seasons. And isn't it about time?
     Social views, attitudes and values of Americans are being challenged and are changing rapidly. Women once seen as not being strong enough or having enough stamina for fighting duty are being thought of less and less as shrinking violets. Just look at professional wrestling on T.V! Having women in combat zones, once felt by some as a potential factor in lowering focus on the job at hand, due to the likelihood of prolonged contact between men and women, in close quarters far from home, in battle stations or elsewhere, was another strike against allowing women fighting at the front line. Another group opposed to women serving on the front lines believes the general public will reject the notion of women being shot to death on a battlefield far away, not to imply that men coming home in a coffin is to be expected as routine. Without a doubt, allowing women in the mainstream of the services is a concern that will be closely watched as time passes.
     But what took so long? Ever since women were given the right to vote, they have been asking for, and not getting, equal rights. It wasn't always brought out, of course, that carried with equal rights was equal responsibilities. If women wanted equal pay for the same jobs they were doing that men were doing, shouldn't they be expected to do the same jobs men were doing, certainly for equal pay. And that would include serving on the front lines in wartime. But that concept may have been underplayed even by the various women's rights organizations. Maybe there were women protesting for equal rights who just wanted equality in the jobs they would like to have, or felt they were capable of competing for. And now, will women who can qualify perhaps soon be seen in the National Football League, or in Major League Baseball? Can you hear it now, "For the Green Bay Packers, at middle linebacker, Mary Smith." Or, "For the Dodgers, at catcher, Jane Doe". Who knows? Now that the concept of equality on the battlefield is out in the open, reactions to it will be varied and plentiful, no doubt. Maybe some women might want to think twice and heed the warning, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
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