“Las Jefas” In the MilitaryWomen are Paving the Way.
By Marisa Rivera.
When I reflect on the history of women’s participation in the victory and independence of many nations, I think of the world wars and peace, I think of the stability and security of our nations today, and I can’t help but to think of the indispensable role of women in the military and armed forces at home and abroad.
Although women’s participation in the military has had a history that extends over 400 years worldwide, from Civil Wars, World Wars I and II to present conflicts, their significant participation has not been acknowledged adequately. American Women began by serving here at home since the Civil War, then on to World War I and II, working in factories and shipyards, serving as laundresses, cooks, nurses, producing munitions and war supplies, weaponry and working in factories like the popular icon “Rosie the Riveter”. Overseas, women in Britain, Canada, Germany, and Russia also served in the military as medics, nurses, clerical support, and some in the front-line duty units.
During the Mexican revolution, we remember the “soldaderas”, also called “Adelitas”, who were women in the military who participated in the Mexican Revolution, ranging from commanding officers to combatants in defending their country.
The acceptance of women in the military or the armed forces has not happened overnight, because their participation has been highly controversial, because of cultural and gender stereotypes. I do believe that we all bring distinct and unique talents to our careers and allowing women to serve in the military and armed forces, doubles the talent pool for unique and sensitive jobs like the ones we have had in the past and the ones facing us today. I think of Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, an American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral who was one of the first programmers who invented the first compiler for a computer programming language, in 1944 leading to the development of COBOL programming language.
Today, many of our military intelligence, satellites, and computer programs were originally designed using COBOL. Today the armed forces, not only needs soldiers to fight in the front lines, it needs diplomatic soldiers working to end conflict quickly, modern high technical battlefield technical expertise, strategic and inclusive decision-making skills, as well as the medical and administrative support and valuable skills that women bring to the job.
Women have played large roles in the history of the military and armed forces from the Civil War to the present day, covering all the services, and braking barriers, making a difference, and are now role models for all future generations. Globally, women have also served their countries along men in defending their nations. Today, according to the Department of Defense, 2015 Military OneSource report, women make up 15 percent of the enlisted active duty force, 13.89 percent in the Army, 17.83 percent in the Navy, 7.56 percent Marine Corps and 18.9 percent in the Air Force.
Women are ready to make life and death decisions on the front lines of ground combat together with their brothers in the military. No past or present wars and conflicts can be won without the contributions of “Las Jefas”, the women leaders in the armed forces. Let’s honor their dedication, patriotism, courage and love for country.
Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant. Marisa@MpowermentWorks.com
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