Equality in combat a threat to both performance and morale

Carly Yamrus, Opinion Editor

History was made Jan. 24 when a 1994 ban barring woman from military combat was lifted. Let’s hear it for the advancement of women’s rights. OK, now I am going to argue against popular opinion when I say that this was a mistake.
Here in America we have this mentality of “Anything you can do, I can do better.” Which is completely ridiculous because it is simply not true. There are some things that men are better at than women, and vice versa. We are equal, but we are not the same.
One of the biggest arguments surrounding this issue is the obvious physical disparity between men and women. Take for instance gender blind recruitment. It’s already unequal.
The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard physical requirements are all different, but in almost all aspects, women are required to do either do less physical work (for example push-ups and sit-ups) or have more time to complete tasks such as the mile runs.
A United States Navy study found that “the top 7 percent of 239 women scored in the same range as the bottom 7 percent of men in upper-body strength.”
In a radical effort for fairness and equality, we are sacrificing performance. More times than not, the female will underperform in comparison to men. Lowering the physical requirements would be anything but beneficial to the effectiveness of our male counterparts.
Mixing women and men in combat units is a dangerous move for everyone involved.
We can’t ignore biology.  We can’t ignore the fact that women can get pregnant and men cannot. The New York Times reported that 10 percent of the women in the military are pregnant at any given time. This greatly affects military readiness and morale.
Pregnancy can also be used as a way of avoiding deployment. Another unfair advantage. who is to say that that will not happen?
In a University of Connecticut poll taken by military personnel 46 percent said that the pregnancies “had a negative impact on unit readiness,” 59% said it had a “negative impact on morale.”
When you put men and women together in a group for an extended period of time, after a while a few natural tendencies are going to kick in.
Physical attraction is a very real problem in the military. There’s no time for these kinds of distractions when you are on a mission.  Relationships are bound to form, resulting in favoritism or erratic behavior due to desire. Close connections between men and women may lead to risky and impulsive decision-making that could be detrimental to the group and could even cost lives.
There is a great possibility that men will feel obligated to protect their female counterparts. After all, chivalry is not dead.
It’s silly to think that “gender sensitivity training” will make men and women any less attracted to each other.
Women also run the risk of being sexually harassed or assaulted. The US Department of Defense reported that 1 in 7 women were sexually assaulted on three military campuses last spring. Do you think this number would decrease when you put men and women together in combat?
Women in combat is, in theory, a great idea. Equality, empowerment, opportunity… would all be great but the argument is flawed. It doesn’t take into account our significant gender differences. It’s science. It’s psychology.
We can’t be blind to all of the potential problems that may come out of this.
This is not the time for a social experiment. Social equality isn’t going to win a war.
It’s not sexist, it’s the truth.