US Marine Corps to go for gender-neutral titles, equal training
The US Marine Corps is instituting some major changes to address the gender gap, even as the US military opens its frontline combat positions to women.
A memo last January 1 by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller requested a “detailed plan” on how the service will fully integrate men and women in its boot camp and Officer Candidate School.
What’s more, another memo called on the US Marine Corps to make their job titles more gender-neutral.
Women in the US Marine Corps
Though women have already been training to become part of the US Marine Corp, it is the last branch among the military service to keep segregated entry-level training.
Currently, female recruits attend the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina but they live and train separate from the male recruits.
Though this supposedly sets up intense mentoring between the female recruits and their counterpart female drill instructors, this has resulted in criticism in that the women are not being held to the same physical standards as the men.
“The Department of the Navy’s implementation plan must include gender integration of Marine Corps enlisted recruit training and officer candidate school,” Mabus’ memo noted.
Gender-neutrality in the US Marine Corps
A second memo from Mabus to Neller called on the Marine Corps for a full review of its military occupational specialty titles so that they would be gender-neutral.
“As we achieve full integration of the force,” Mabus wrote, “This is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs.
“Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from the titles and provide a report to me as soon as is practicable and no later than April 1, 2016,” Mabus added.
Positions in the US Marine Corps
Though iconic title positions in Marine Corps like “infantrymen” and “midshipman” will probably not be changed, other titles like “reconnaisance man”, “fire support man”, and “field artillery sensor support man” will be addressed.
In those cases, the word “man” could just be dropped from the names.
Lt. Col. Eric Dent has said the US Marine Corps is “working diligently to meet the intent of the Secretary of Defense’s policy.”
Prior to the memos to the US Marine Corps, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had announced last December that the US military will open frontline combat positions to women across its branches for the first time. Likewise, transgender Americans can now openly serve in the US military starting May of this year.