As we rush to supermarkets and plan our holiday meals, one simple, stunning fact should give us all pause: Tens of thousands of America’s military families don’t know if they’ll have enough to eat tomorrow, much less on Thanksgiving.
Major gender gaps persist in the U.S. armed forces, negatively impacting operational effectiveness, military culture and compliance with international law, according to a report released by the Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security.
To ensure women’s meaningful participation, the report suggests that women must be promoted to leadership positions and their input must be valued. To do so, the military must adopt better and more complete childcare and parental leave policies and decouple physical fitness standards from advancement.
The main objection to President Biden’s Build Back Better plan by Republicans and so-called “moderate” Democrats is the price tag—$1.75 trillion over 10 years. If that sounds like a lot of money, it is—until you compare it to the boys and their toys.
We don’t need a rocket scientist to tell us why women’s jobs aren’t recovering: a lack of childcare and universal pre-kindergarten, a lack of paid family leave. The Build Back Better Act would go a long way toward fixing that.
Women peacekeepers are being asked to increase the security for women civilians in conflict zones—yet women peacekeepers are being sexually harassed and assaulted by men in their own militaries. How can the U.N. Security Council stand by its call to troop contributing countries to increase the numbers of women peacekeepers they are deploying, when they can’t keep them safe?
President Biden signed an executive order implementing sweeping changes to the way the military justice system handles sexual assault cases. The reform “transfers key decision-making authorities from commanders to specialized, independent military prosecutors in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, murder, and other serious offenses.” The initiative, which consistently wins bipartisan support, is “the most significant transformation of the military justice system since … 1950,” according to the White House.
The reform effort has been led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and other survivors, advocates and members of Congress. “While it will take time to see the results of these changes,” said Gillibrand, “these measures will instill more trust, professionalism and confidence in the system.”
In Nagorno Karabakh, Armenians are beginning to rebuild their democracy after military attacks from Azerbaijan and decades of political instability.
“I feel more responsible for my relatives, for people around me, for my homeland. I’m not just a woman, I’m an Armenian woman. I am a woman of Artsakh.”
A new report concludes that “institutional racism and sexism are present, tolerated and left unaddressed at VMI. The racist and misogynistic acts and outcomes uncovered during this investigation are disturbing.”
Military families face unique financial challenges and are thus vulnerable to food insecurity. This is felt acutely among women veterans, veterans of color and military spouses, who are typically women.
Not only has hunger among military families and veterans been a problem for years—rising to new heights during the pandemic—policymakers have repeatedly failed to take even the most basic action to respond to it.
Vanessa Guillén’s case has become a turning point in the long campaign to address sexual assault in the military. The case moved Republican Senator Joni Ernst to join Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to introduce the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act.
The limitations on women’s hair that remain aren’t practical; they’re patriarchal. If they’re entrusted to guard national security, even in a small way, then they should be trusted with another inch of ponytail if that helps them feel better about themselves and improves their job performance.