chapter  8
26 Pages

Women and Readiness

WithWilliam L. O’Neill

In the early 1970s when President Richard Nixon called for an end to the draft no thought was given to women because an all-male, All-Volunteer Armed Force seemed highly feasible. In the age of the Equal Rights Amendment, many politicians found this idea attractive and key members of Congress gave strong support to programs for attracting women. The generals and admirals might have put up more resistance if they had understood the implications of a gender integrated military. A small number of women wish to serve as pilots or crew warplanes. Indeed, women in the Field Artillery declined from 488 in 1988 to about 60 in 1994, out of a total strength of more than 26,000 persons. In 1998 Senator Charles Robb, ranking minority member of the Subcommittee on Readiness, asked the General Accounting Office to investigate general physical fitness standards in the armed services.