Introduction Women have been serving in the army since the 1700s, but it wasn’t until the late 1940s that they started to receive official recognition and compensation as fully-fledged members of the armed forces. Most countries include women in their military, though their roles are largely confined to medical, administrative or logistical fields. There is a general disinclination to placing women in combat roles even in countries that make it mandatory for women to serve in the military alongside the men. It has become a particularly contentious issue in contemporary militaries throughout the world.
With the current exclusion of women from many combat roles seen by some as a form of sexual discrimination, an ongoing debate continues to rage. Many on each side of the issue cite the alleged physical and mental differences of the two sexes, the effect of the presence of the opposite sex on the battlefield, and the traditional view of males as soldiers as arguments both for and against women being employed as soldiers under combat situations. Although women are recruited to serve in the military in most countries, only a few countries permit women to fill active combat roles.
Countries that allow this include Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland. Other nations allow female soldiers to serve in certain Combat Arms positions, such as Israel and the United Kingdom, which allow women to serve in Artillery roles, while still excluding them from units with a dedicated Infantry role. The United States allows women in most combat flying positions. China, Eritrea, Israel, Libya, Malaysia, North Korea, Peru and Taiwan draft women into the army too.
In 2002, Sweden also considered female conscription on the grounds that excluding them goes against the ideology of equality. As increasing numbers of countries begin to expand the role of women in their militaries, the debate continues about woman’s ability to handle the military life. In this paper, we shed light on the differences between Islamic and Feminist (western) perspective towards the concept of having women in military, the issues related to women in combat and real life stories to support the Islamic view that researchers of this paper strongly believe in.
Page |4 World Women in Military Women are allowed to fill active combat roles in a few countries around the world, including: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Israel, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. India, the United Kingdom and the United States only allow women to serve in artillery roles, and not with infantry units. A list of countries where women are allowed to join the army. ASIA-PACIFIC Australia, Nepal, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Pakistan, Soth Korea, Japan.
AMERICAS United States, Canada, Mexico. MIDDLE EAST Israel. EUROPE Denmark, Italy, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom. AFRICA Eritrea, Libya. Page |5 Why Military: Islamic View Vs. Feminist View From the Eyes of Islam War in Islam means Jihad. Jihad may refer to “holy war,” or more correctly, “struggle,” – but the struggle doesn’t have to be with those outside Islam. In fact, jihad is something that often focuses Muslims inward. There are actually two jihads – the Lesser and the Greater Jihad.
The lesser jihad is actually the one most people are familiar with – “holy war. ” But the Qur’an cautions Muslims against fighting unnecessarily. War is to be waged as a defensive measure, not an offensive one. Jihad is not obligatory for women In Islam. Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: In order for jihad to be obligatory there are seven conditions: being Muslim, being an adult, being of sound mind, being free, being male, being physically sound and being able to afford it financially.
With regard to being Muslim, adult and of sound mind, these are essential conditions for all Islamic duties, because a kaafir is not to be trusted in jihad, an insane person cannot go for jihad and a child is physically weak. Ibn ‘Umar said: “I presented myself to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the day of Uhud when I was fourteen years old, and he did not let me join the fighting. ” Agreed upon with regard to being male, this is stipulated because of the report narrated from ‘Aa’ishah who said: “O Messenger of Allaah, do women have to engage in jihad?
He said: “Jihad in which there is no fighting: Hajj and ‘Umrah. ” And because women are not able to fight because they are (physically) weak. From al-Mughni, 9/163. Can a woman go out to help the mujaahideen and treat the wounded? Al-Sarkhasi said in Chapter on women fighting alongside men and being present in war, we do not like women to fight alongside men in war because a woman does not have the right physical make-up for fighting, as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) indicated when he said: “This one was not a fighter” (said when he saw the body of a woman slain on the battlefield).
And when a woman fights, the ‘awrah of the Muslims may become exposed and the mushrikeen will rejoice at that, and that may be a cause of the mushrikeen increasing their hopes of defeating the Muslims, and they may think that the Muslims are weak because they had to bring the women to fight, so they will say, ‘They need the help of women to fight us. ” So this should be avoided. For this reason it is not recommended for women to participate directly in the fighting.
But if the Muslims have no choice and are forced to do that, because repelling the kuffaar when necessary by whatever means the Muslims have at their disposal, is permissible, rather it is obligatory. The story of Hunayn is quoted as evidence for that. At the end of this story it says: Umm Sulaym bint Milhaan, who was fighting that day with a cloth tied around her stomach, said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think about these people who ran away from you and let you down?
You should not forgive them if Allaah gives you power over them. ” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Umm Sulaym, the forgiveness of Allaah is immense. ” She repeated that three times, and each time the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The mercy of Allaah is immense. ” In al-Maghaazi it is Page |6 narrated that she said: “O Messenger of Allaah, should we not kill these who ran away (from the battlefield) as we killed the mushrikeen?
” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The forgiveness of Allaah is immense. ” What greater need can there be for women to fight than this incident when the men fled and abandoned the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). This clearly shows that there is nothing wrong with women fighting when that is essential, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not prevent this woman from fighting on that occasion.
But it is not narrated that he gave the women permission to fight on other occasions. There is nothing wrong with old women being present at times of war to tend the wounded, bring water and cook food for the soldiers if they need that, because of the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qarat al-Azdi who said: The womenfolk of Khaalid ibn al-Waleed and the womenfolk of the Sahaabah had their sleeves rolled up, bringing water to the mujaahideen and reciting encouraging poetry, when he was fighting the Byzantines.
What is meant here is old women, because young women are not allowed to go out for fear of fitnah, and old women can take care of the needs in such situations. And it was narrated that Umm Mutaa’, who was present at Khaybar with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), said: I saw Aslam (one of the Arab tribes) when they complained to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about the difficulties they were facing, so he recommended that they engage in jihad and they responded.
I saw that Aslam were the first ones to reach the fortress and the sun did not set on that day until Allaah had enabled us to conquer it. This clearly shows that she went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he did not forbid her to do so. From this we know that there is nothing wrong with an old woman going out to help the mujaahideen by doing tasks that are appropriate for them.
And Allaah is the Source of strength. It says in Khishshaaf al-Qinaa’ (3/26): Women are not allowed (to engage in jihad) because they are a source of temptation, as well as not being qualified to fight, because of their natural tendency to be weak and cowardly, and because there is no guarantee that the enemy will not capture them and regard it as permissible to do to them that which Allaah has forbidden.
Some of the scholars said: except the wife of the ruler or commander, who may be present to attend to his needs, because of the actions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or an old women in cases of need only, such as giving water to the troops and treating the wounded, because al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh said: “We used to go out to fight with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), bringing water and serving them, bringing back the wounded and the slain to Madeenah.
” Narrated by al-Bukhaari. And a similar report was narrated from Anas by Muslim. That is because men may be distracted from these tasks by fighting, so this is a help to the Muslims and supporting them in their fight. All of this has to do with jihad in cases where the enemy has not invaded the Muslim land, in which case jihad becomes obligatory on every able-bodied person, man or woman, and a woman may then go out without her husband’s permission.
Al-Kaasaani al-Hanafi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “But at times of general mobilization, such as when the enemy is seeking to invade a Muslim land, then it becomes an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn) on every single Muslim who is able to fight, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): Page |7 “March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor)” [al-Tawbah 9:41] It was said that this was revealed concerning general mobilization.
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “It was not becoming of the people of Al-Madinah and the bedouins of the neighbourhood to remain behind Allaah’s Messenger (Muhammad when fighting in Allaah’s Cause) and (it was not becoming of them) to prefer their own lives to his life” [al-Tawbah 9:120] From Badaa’i’ al-Sanaa’i’, 7/98 It says something similar in al-Sharh al-Sagheer, one of the Maaliki books (2/274): that if the enemy attacks a Muslim land, then jihad becomes an individual obligation for every man and woman.
Jihad is not obligatory for women in principle, except in cases of necessity, such as if the kuffaar attack a Muslim land, in which case jihad becomes obligatory for women, according to their abilities. If a woman is not able to fight then she is not obliged to do so, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope” [al-Baqarah 2:286] Women do not have to go to wars and fight with men, since women do not have the right physical shape for fighting, and their nature is weaker than men.
Muslims women, in past, went to wars with men when they was fighting against kuffar, in order to help the mujaahideen, prepare the food, and treat the wounded, and they fought when there was a necessity only. Allah knows the nature of the women and he created her in a way different than men and have different abilities not for discrimination but because each one of them has his/her own role. The man nature, body, and attitude are tough and strong; he was created to be the provider and the protector for his family.
Also, men can make decisions for sudden conditions quickly without thinking emotionally about the problem. On the other hand, woman is softer in her way of dealing with situations, and different studies confirmed that women takes longer time to take quick decisions than men especially if it was in a sudden and she involves her emotions in most of them. Page |8 From the Eyes of a Feminist (West) Proponents of a gender-neutral military establishment envisage the participation of women in all phases of military life, including membership and command of combat units, vehicles and ships.
They rely heavily on legal arguments borrowed from the civil rights and feminist movements to attack gender distinctions as inherently discriminatory or violative of fundamental constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. They insist that the right of individual women to pursue fulfilling and rewarding careers in the military cannot be abridged by ‘traditional’ views of sexual roles which over-emphasize sex differences and devalue female strengths and capabilities.
Differences in physical capacity or behavior patterns are believed to be largely irrelevant or distorted by bias in the structure of test instruments or interpretation of test data. Sexual issues that do not lend themselves easily to this interpretation can be resolved, it is argued, by the application of better, more equitable leadership and training programs. Often the impression is made that advocates of gender neutrality in the military posit an irrefutable presumption that opposition to their views is proof of sexual bias. Women have long service with distinction in foreign militaries.
More and more countries are expanded the number of occupational specialties in which women can serve. The reason for the increase is numerous. Some include a growing recognition that women can do most military jobs as well as men and a continuing need for able body service member members. In some countries, women have engaged in combat as far back World War II. During World War II, Soviet women engaged in combat in every branch of the armed forces and they also piloted combat aircrafts. There was an all-women bomber squadron and a woman fighter pilot was designated as an ace with 12 kills.
Today, Canada, Germany, South Korea, France Spain, New Zealand and Denmark allow women to service in ground combat. An extensive nationwide survey on attitudes concerning women in the military has not been done since 1982, when a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) showed strong public approval of women in the military. Eighty-four percent of the respondents in that survey said they wanted to maintain or increase the proportion of women in the military, and 81 percent thought the increased presence of women had not reduced military effectiveness.
While only 35 percent favored allowing women in hand-to-hand combat, there was overwhelming support for women serving in the traditionally female jobs that expose women to combat (e. g. , nurses), and significant majority support for women serving in less traditionally-female jobs associated with combat. Here are some findings from the NORC survey: Military Job Nurse in a combat zone Military truck mechanic Jet transport pilot % of respondents who approved of women holding job 94 83 73 Page |9 Fighter pilot Missile gunner Crew member on combat ship 62 59 57
Source: National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago, April 1983 Why Women Join The Military? There are a number of things that the military offers that makes joining and staying in the military attractive for women and men alike. According to the Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Service’s Annual Report for 2008, the number one reason women stayed in the military was their sense of job satisfaction and job performance. Other reasons for women to stay in the military included access to health care, education opportunities, money, travelling, purpose, retirement and patriotism.
1. Money Many military recruiters use income opportunities as their hook when trying to get someone to join the armed forces. They know that there are lots of men and women who desire to have a greater level of income. This is one of the biggest reasons why people join the military. In fact, money may be the only reason that some men and women choose to become active participants in the armed forces. Some of the financial benefits are listed below: a. Sign-Up Bonus The Army offers a tremendous sign-up bonus, up to $40,000. This is also referred to as the enlistment bonus.
b. Pay Your pay varies by your Army job choice and your rank. Bonus pay premiums are often offered based on marital status, dependents, housing status, active-duty status and deployment. 2. Health Care Healthcare benefits are also provided for the families of men and women in the military; Military members are immediately eligible for full health care benefits for themselves and their immediate family members as soon as they enter the service, and if they stay through until retirement, they and their family can take these benefits with them when they leave the military.
These health benefits extend to immediate family (e. g. spouses and children, and sometimes dependent parents). Some men and women join the armed forces to help pay for their college education. Many positions in the military offer an opportunity to advance in a career that may not be related to the armed forces. The military’s eArmyU program provides 100% tuition at universities and colleges enrolled in the program. An enlisted soldier, regardless of rank, can have her 3. Education P a g e | 10 entire college education paid for by the U. S. Army.
Even with the high operations tempo of the last decade, soldiers are earning degrees at unprecedented rates. All men and women who enlist are eligible. a. College The Army offers college money through the Army College Fund and the Montgomery GI Bill. The maximum allotment for college is $70,000. b. Tuition Reimbursement In addition to the ACF and GI Bill, the Army also offers up to $65,000 to repay qualifying student loans obtained to attend college. 4. Purpose Many American men and women join the armed forces to find purpose in life. Some may not have specific objectives or goals that they want to achieve.
Others may join because they seek help in figuring out what their talents are. Many of the men and women are able to acquire useful skills while serving in the military. These skills can assist them in gaining better employment or running a business, when they are no longer active. Some high school students that do not have college plans may consider joining the military in order to have something to do. Many do not have a desire to go to college, while others have trouble getting accepted. There are lots of careers that can be obtained while serving in the armed forces.
That is one reason why some people remain in the military. They become more accomplished as they climb up the ranks and gain advanced positions within the armed forces. 5. Patriotism One of the main reasons that some people join the armed forces is to protect their country. This is true for many American soldiers and servicemen in the military. Their purpose is to serve their country and protect the rights and safety of others. This is a very unselfish act for many men and women in the armed forces. They put themselves in danger in order to save their family and other citizens from harm.
Many men and women in the military are extremely brave and noble individuals. There is nothing humanly possible that can be done to show enough appreciation and understanding for the things that they do. 6. Travel Depending on the Army job choice, one could get to travel the country, or even the world, and be paid to do it. There are tons of people who join the armed forces because it offers an opportunity to travel. Some cannot afford to travel and would not be able to do so otherwise. The US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard all offer a chance to travel.
Men and women can travel to Asia, Germany and other countries while serving in the military. Some may say that traveling is one of the best benefits about being in the armed forces. By traveling, there is a chance to meet new people. Traveling also offers the ability to be grateful for one’s own country. Many men and women in the armed forces have also decided to live in the countries that they have traveled to.
This may be due to the fact that they have been in one country for a long time, while serving in the military. It is possible to P a g e | 11 become satisfied with where you are and choose to remain there. Men and women in the armed forces may also decide to reside in a particular country because they are fond of the environment. 7. Retirement A civilian might work for 45 years in the private sector and still not receive retirement benefits, but serving 20 years in the Army entitles you to monthly retirement income. P a g e | 12 The Invisible War: Problems faced by Female Soldiers Just because more and more women are courageously signing up to serve their country, that doesn’t mean that the choice they made was easy.
In fact, military service presents three specific issues for women that civilian women might not face, one of which is sexual assault that is discussed in great details below: Sexual Assault and Harassment: Epidemic in the Military Women in the military are raped and sexually assaulted at significantly higher rates than in civilian society. A 2003 study of women seeking health care through the VA from the period of the Vietnam war through the first Gulf War found that nearly 1 in 3 women was raped while serving almost twice the rate of rape in US society – and that 8 in 10 women had been sexually harassed during their military service.
Rates were consistent through all periods and wars studied. Of those who reported having been raped, 37 percent were raped at least twice and 14 percent were gangraped. What’s often overlooked in these statistics is that the reported prevalence of rape in the military is based on a period of 2-6 years in military service, whereas the sexual assault of women in civilian society (nearly 1 in 5) is based on lifetime prevalence – signifying an even more concentrated culture of sexual assault and a higher threat for active-duty military women from fellow soldiers.
A distinct pattern has emerged from VA studies which reveals older and sometimes senior men rape younger and more junior women, exposing the dominance motive in rape. In the spring of 2011, the Air Force released results from a survey of sexual assault conducted by Gallup of nearly 20,000 male and female “airmen” (sic). Nearly 1 in 5 women reported being sexually assaulted while in the service, with most of the perpetrators being men in the Air Force. Eighty-three percent of those assaulted did not report the crime because they “did not want to cause trouble in their unit”‘ or did not want supervisors, family or fellow airmen to know.
According to clinical psychologist David Lisak, who helps train military lawyers, one of the setbacks in justice for Air Force women assault victims is that military lawyers representing them are often young and inexperienced in sexual assault cases. On the other hand, many alleged perpetrators hire specialized and experienced civilian sexual assault defense lawyers. In contrast to surveys of women veterans and the 2011 Air Force survey, the Department of Defense (DoD) statistics of active-duty women do not reveal the extreme rates of rape because an estimated 80 percent are not reported while women are in the military.
This compares to 60 percent of rapes going unreported in civilian society. Many factors conspire to shape a threatening and asymmetric environment that defeats women’s reporting of sexual assault: fear of not being believed or of being accused of lying by one’s commander; risk of retribution in a closed, rigidly hierarchal institution; the culture of male impunity; and the prevalence of older and higher-ranking soldiers raping younger and junior-ranking women. Other peer-driven dynamics are also at play within a tightly confined military environment.
Fears of looking weak, cowardly, or disloyal, or of being ostracized or becoming the object of gossip further function as censors and constraints on soldiers who might otherwise report sexual assault. P a g e | 13 Lack of Medical Services Specifically for Women The military medical system and VA hospitals were designed to serve men, and this lack of inclusion manifests itself in many ways. The VA has been lambasted for not having an adequate staff to deal with gender-specific health issues like mammograms and PAP smears, not to mention the lack of female-specific accommodation in some VA hospitals.
The VA system also lacks adequate counseling and psychological services specifically for women soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress or another mental illness. Issues of Children and Family Even as social pressure has broken down the idea that a woman’s place is in the home, it hasn’t remedied the fact that many women remain the primary caretakers of the family, even as they work full-time. This is particularly apparent for servicewomen, who must go through the painful process of breaking the bonds with their children and families every time they are deployed.
Upon returning from service, many women are forced into the dual role of full-time caretaker and breadwinner, something that male soldiers rarely face. Many women veterans have trouble finding affordable child care, to allow them to find a civilian job or attend counseling for the mental health issues that can manifest after military service. P a g e | 14 Women at War: Health, Psychological and Social Effects of Military on Women Health Military affects women’s health by casing different problems to her such as: Substance Abuse Alcohol and/or drugs become a coping mechanism when stress, depression and anxiety build.
Women tend to become addicted to substances through the significant others in their lives. Individuals who grow up in an addictive environment are predisposed to becoming addicted themselves. In spite of new awareness inside of the military, it is still a culture that encourages drinking as a means of being a “team player. ” In a male dominated culture, there is also the pressure to be “one of the guys,” and have a few drinks. Unfortunately, these drinking episodes, which are seen as opportunities to enhance unit camaraderie can also lead to date violence and assault when things get out of control.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Since Women in the military are raped and sexually assaulted at significantly higher rates than in civilian society. Those Women who have been raped, have had unprotected sex, or are intravenous drug users are susceptible to being diagnosed with a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), Hepatitis, or HIV/AIDS. Birth Defects A study discussed in the conception/fertility/pregnancy section, also assessed the association of Vietnam deployment in birth defects. It was reported that the risk of likely or moderate to severe birth defects (i.e. likely defects included congenital anomalies and included structural, functional, metabolic, or hereditary defects) was significantly higher among Vietnam Veterans versus non-Vietnam Veterans (10. 5 percent vs. 7. 0 percent and 7. 7 percent vs. 5. 8 percent, respectively).
Female Gulf War Veterans “reported more miscarriages and stillbirths” than non-Gulf War Veterans. Women who served in a combat zone (Vietnam or the Persian Gulf) may develop illnesses related to environmental exposures, such as Agent Orange. Specific to Sexual Assault/Rape A 2008 review of studies documenting the prevalence and health consequences of military sexual trauma found that younger, less educated women and those at enlisted rank are more likely to be victims of sexual assault than older, more educated women and women officers. Women victims of military sexual trauma suffer significantly more depression and alcohol abuse, poor health, and chronic health problems, including chronic fatigue, back and pelvic pain, and gastrointestinal problems and headaches. P a g e | 15 Psychological Not only women’s physical health but also her psychological health will be affected by going to military:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that develops after a distressing ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. This harm may have happened to the person who develops PTSD or to a friend or loved one or may have simply been witnessed by the person who developed PTSD. 7,8 People with PTSD may suffer flashbacks to the traumatic event, become aggressive or withdrawn, have nightmares, and become emotionally numb or even violent. Symptoms of PTSD usually appear about three months after the traumatic event.
PTSD generally affects twice as many women as men, and women with PTSD report having a lower quality of life than do men with PTSD. Some of these symptoms are: ? ? Avoidance: Trying to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event is another key symptom of PTSD. Emotional numbing : Some people with PTSD deal with their feelings by trying not to feel anything at all. This is known as emotional numbing. They may feel detached or isolated from others, or guilty. Hyperarousal (feeling ‘on edge’) : Someone with PTSD may be very anxious and find it difficult to relax.
They may be constantly aware of threats and easily startled. Irritability, angry outbursts, sleeping problems and difficulty concentrating are also common. Other possible symptoms: ? depression, anxiety and phobias ? drug misuse or alcohol misuse ? sweating, shaking, headaches, dizziness, chest pains and stomach upsets ? ? Suicide: Young women veterans are nearly three times as likely as civilians to commit suicide, according to new research published by researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
The study examined data on 5,948 female suicides committed between 2004 and 2007. In the 18 to 34 age group alone, there were: ? ? 56 suicides among 418,132 female veterans (1 in 7,465). 1,461 suicides among 33,257,362 nonveterans (1 in 22,763). This study shows that young women veterans have nearly triple the suicide rate of young women who never served in the military. P a g e | 16 Mood Disorders Military women are at risk for developing anxiety and mood disorders, particularly those women deployed to combat areas.
Gulf War veterans who were exposed to combat reported higher rates of depression and anxiety than those not exposed to combat. A recent study of Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers revealed women were more l