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Monday, September 12, 2011

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

"Glass Ceiling" is a term that gets thrown around a lot. Put simply, it's the invisible barrier that blocks women from advancing vertically in the white-collar world. Some say it is a manifestation of the lingering sexism in the country and many have come up with solutions to break it, but I feel that they are all off the mark.

In college, I was part of a group project in African-American studies and our subject was Executive order 9981, which racially integrated the US Military. In our research, we found that a number of progressive strides attributed to the civil rights movement and it's leaders were preceded (by years in some cases) by similar policy changes within the military that were started with EO 9981 and accelerated by the Korean War. For example, months before the Little Rock Nine "shattered" barriers by going to an integrated school, schools on military bases had already been integrated. Soldiers were living in integrated neighborhoods before redlining was outlawed. Soldiers got equal pay for equal work and all jobs were open to everybody. I won't go into detail here, but suffice it to say that blacks would not be where they are today if not for the military.

It is because of the above discovery that I believe that the military is the key for womens' advancement as well. There are three military related things that seperate women from what many consider to be "true" soldiers and citizens.

1: Women have different (read as "lower") physical fitness standards in the military
2: Women are generally barred from direct combat jobs (infantry and the like)
3: Women are not required (and, in fact, not allowed) to register for the Selective Service (The Draft)

These three things are things that need to change for women to be truly regarded as equals.
I personally believe that the draft is the most important. How can one demand equal rights without accepting equal responsibilities.

Chnage these three things, feminists, and the glass ceiling will shatter...

In 20 years or so.

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