Around 50 female Marines trained alongside their male peers at a facility in Parris Island, South Carolina on Friday, January 11 and it’s the first time in the U.S. Marine Crops history that women have trained together with men at boot camp.
However, don’t get your hopes up just yet, because they made this move out of necessity rather than an attempt to integrate. It has been reported that because of the lack of female recruits during the winter training cycle, it was more practical to shut down the all-female battalion at Parris Island and transfer the remaining 50 female Marines into the male battalion.
Marine Corps leaders have previously said numerous times that “women receive the proper support they need in the early stages of service if they train separately from men”, but there are many people in the military that believe that men and women should train together, and mixing the genders at the onset of their service would improve the dynamics.
According to a recent report by the Pentagon, the Marines had more assault and harassment claims that any other military branch in 2017. Military officials believe, however, that the number is misleading because the number of reported cases are up because people who have been the subject of an assault have greater confidence that their claims will be handled without retribution.
The CEO of Service Women’s Action Network, retired Army Colonel Ellen Harring have used this moment to point out just how much the Marine Corps are lagging behind the rest of the military when it comes to gender equality. She said that the announcement of the all-female and all-male battalion merging on trial basis comes decades after all of the other Military Services have integrated all of their basic training units. According to data collected in the 1990s, it has been found that integrating basic training units have improved performance on a number of measures.