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The increase in diversity at the workplace has been a major challenge for many organizations and particularly human resource managers. On the other hand, it provides an attractive opportunity for line managers who are constantly looking for a source of innovation by attracting a large pool of workers with diverse backgrounds. Judging from my own experience, an example of an organization that has been encountered with the problem of workplace diversity is the United States Military. The United States Military is responsible for protecting the country from its enemies, which includes both internal and external attacks. The U.S. Military guards the country against potential and actual attacks from terrorists. It operates within the national security industry. I served in the U.S. Military as a soldier.
Women in the Military
One major change in the U.S. military is its gender composition. The military is historically dominated by male soldiers. However, over the past few decades, the number of female soldiers has been considerably increased. As a consequence, gender diversity in the military has augmented. Although the vast majority of combatants have been men across many cultures, the number of women in the military has been increasing rapidly over the last century. Today, many women serve in the armies in various positions, including senior positions such as major generals. In the United States, the history of women in the military dates back to the 1860s when few women cross-dressed as men and fought alongside men during the American Civil War. In addition to fighting in the forefront as their male counterparts, women have also served in the military as nursesand aides. Wood (2010) asserts that the role and involvement of women in militaries in many societies have been controversial. He states that only recently women have begun to be actively involved as combatants in the militaries as well as take more prominent roles in contemporary armed forces. According to Wood (2010), the roles of women in the U.S. Military included doing non-combat duties such as nursing, laundering and mending clothes. The first group of women was admitted to the U.S. Military Academy in 1976 (Wood, 2010). Nowadays, many female soldiers are trained to take up more challenging roles in forensics, evidence collection, biometrics, and personnel searches. Moreover, it was rumored that the U.S. Military intends to start training women on the Army Ranger by 2016, which will increase their chances of getting more elite commando positions in the army (Wood, 2010). As of 2012, the U.S. Military was composed of fourteen percent of women, and more than thirty-five thousand women were serving as officers in the military. On January 24, 2013, CNN reported that there are more than two hundred thousand women serving in the U.S. Military with approximately fourteen percent serving in the Active Army (CNN, 2013).
Implications and Needs of Women in the Military
The involvement of women in the military has led to numerous challenges that require proper address. This is because women have more personal needs than men do; for instance, they require maternity leaves since they need to give birth. They also need to take care of their children and families. One of the major implications of the increase of women in the U.S. Military is the need for increased maternity leaves. Many women in the mmilitary require annual leaves when expectant so that they can give birth and bring up their newborns.
Responding to the Needs of Women in the Military
Some of the things the U.S. military should do to deal with the various needs of servicewomen include developing and implementing appropriate strategies and programs that would facilitate their involvement in military activities. For example, female soldiers should be given at least three months of maternity leaves when expectant and about to give birth. The military should encourage the recruitment of female soldiers and provide them with equal opportunities for professional growth and development. Special programs that aim at addressing specific challenges faced by women in the military should also be formulated.
Although the number of women in the armed forces across various societies has been increasing over the recent past, the debate on their involvement as combatants in the militaries continues and opinions are divided about their active combat roles. Many cultures consider women as complements to men. Hence, they can only be allowed to take up supplementary roles in the society. Despite these negative attitudes and stereotypes about the role of women in the armed forces, many contemporary militaries across the globe have begun to incorporate women in their armies. Many armed forces have begun to realize that gender matters less in the battlefield, which leads to increased recruitment of female soldiers. Thus, I assert that militaries should recruit more women and develop appropriate programs that would address their unique needs.
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