Female Dolphins?

The Hubs' sub leaving last winter.

Women on of the newest oldest debates may soon become a reality. I'm not sure what my thoughts are on this. We've always fielded the questions of "why can't women be on subs" from our daughter and I've always told her that maybe one day she'll be able to be on a sub...or that women could be on subs (not exactly sure that she'd want to do what daddy does).

I'm definitely pro-woman on lots of subjects...but also am wondering about the implications of mixed-sex crews on subs. Shoot...if racism can be pretty rampant in the not-so-very diverse submarine community...what about sexism? Also, knowing how deployments/underways/patrols can be pretty taxing on some sub spouses...what if you do add to the mix the additional worry of having your spouse be tempted by female crew members. Additionally, what about the safety of these female crew members as well as support by the rest of the crew. My biggest concern would be the type of support these women would need and would they get it fairly?

I think my spouse would be able to fairly nurture female crew members...being an officer of color (who is prior-enlisted) married to a former civil rights activist, he's got some training and is more sensitive to underrepresented communities. BUT...what about the others? What more if the women are women of color? Like I said, it's very rare to have an person of color in the wardroom (the officers)...let alone 2. We've been lucky to have shared both tours with another officer of color and have always shared similar sentiments with regards to the lack of diversity and sensitivity (ie. EDUCATION) to underserved communities...this is shared by both officer and spouse.

Obviously the training from the Hubs' alma mater will be stellar and I'm glad to see that they would be grooming women @ the USNA to become trailblazers in this community. But, I can't reiterate enough how much support these women will need from their chain of command and the Navy to be as successful as their potential allows. I hope the right measures will be put in place to allow for the success and safety of these women.


*Ironically, as the Navy mulls this issue over, it so happens it's occuring during Military Rape Awareness Week. Here is one woman's experience, a staff sgt. in the Army. Just one of the issues that women could be facing living life as a bubblehead.


Melis said...

Hey lady - this has been an oft-discussed topic in our household recently as well. Neither of us are sure it would be a brilliant decision because, though the female officers are going to be groomed at USNA and even IF we can get some enlightened-thinking and sensitive male officers in the wardroom to support their female counter-parts, how in the world can we ensure that the crew would be willing to take orders from a woman? As amazing as many, many enlisted men are, there ARE quite a few (and this holds true for officers too, of course!) who simply don't have the ability to let go of long-standing prejudices... Not to mention the logistics of manning (is that term going to need to change?) since boomers are the only boats that will be equipped and submariners aren't supposed to go from 2-crew boat to another 2-crew boat for subsequent sea-duties... so would women get to stay boomers the whole time? Is that fair then, to the men who HAVE to do a sea-tour on fast-attacks if they go career? And I feel like some of what helps the guys on their deployments is the "guy-time" and the sharing of a common experience and being able to immerse themselves in their jobs without distraction... all of which will effectively go away with the addition of women. I dunno, Tanya... I'm glad we made our choice to blow this popsicle stand before we're stuck dealing with this... blech. Maybe what we need is for an all-female submarine to go to sea and successfully complete their mission and come back "seasoned" so they can assimilate into the force with some "street cred" to back them up...

Tanya said... true!! Not even reading through that article and neglecting that these women will only be put on boomers...and that enlisted women wouldn't even be put in place till later...yeah, that makes me question how supportive will the community be as a whole in the success of these women. Back-to-back boomer tours usually are a clear message to the guys that "hey, you might want to look elsewhere for your career" much more for these women?

Yeah, for those few who won't be able to have a woman in authority over'll be like a parasite eating it's way slowly through the crew's attitudes and beliefs. If some guys (enlisted and officer...people of color and not) have enough trouble taking orders from higher-ranking guys of color (enlisted and officers) much rougher for the women?

They definitely have to start somewhere to eventually allow women on subs...but everything has to be totally worked out and the system totally set up so these women are not set up for failure.