Women in the Armed Forces [Updated November 20, 1991]   [open pdf - 922KB]

From the Summary: "The number of women in the armed forces steadily increased from less than 2% at the end of FY1972 to 11% in September 1990. The percentages vary among the services from less than 5% for the Marines to more than 13% for the Air Force. Parallel with the increase in the number of women in the armed forces has been a gradual removal of restrictions against women in the military services and the kind of jobs they could hold. For several years one issue has been whether to continue to expand the proportion of women in the armed forces. The perception of need for military women could change if a planned reduction in the armed forces occurred in response to world events and an adequate pool of qualified males. The major issue for several years has been whether to remove the principal remaining restriction, the ban against women in combat. Past legislation has prohibited the assignment of women to vessels and aircraft assigned combat missions in the Navy and aircraft assigned combat missions in the Air Force. […] Opinion in the United States is deeply divided on the fundamental issues involved: Would national security in the future be jeopardized or strengthened by increasing the proportion of women in the armed forces and allowing them in combat? Should women have equal opportunities and responsibilities in national defense, or do role and physical differences and the protection of future generations justify continuation of the combat ban? Current law requiring draft registration of males only and proposals for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution have raised these same issues."

Report Number:
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB79045
Public Domain
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