Last week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress of plans to finally allow women to serve aboard submarines, according to a CNN article.
It’s about time.
I was actually unaware that women were not allowed to serve aboard submarines until reading the CNN story, and I wondered why they were not allowed to serve there when women were initially allowed to enlist in the late 1970s.
The reason women were not allowed on submarines was not because they were thought to be incapable of doing the same work as men, which is good, but because it was too costly to make separate living quarters and lavatories for female sailors.
The first women allowed on submarines would be officers, who have separate living quarters, followed by crews, according to the article.
I’m surprised that money was not spent sooner to make the submarines gender-friendly for men and women. The government has had nearly 30 years to do it, including peacetime years when they weren’t funding a military campaign.
But another reason I think women were excluded for so long is the confined space that must be dealt with on a submarine. Put men and women together in that small of a space for an extended amount of time and some sort of shenanigans are bound to take place.
That reason, however, is just pure speculation on my part.
The point I want to emphasize, though, is the fact that having women on submarines should not be a problem, privacy and bedding concerns aside.
Women soldiers have been working with male soldiers and sailors cooperatively for quite a while now, and it should not be any different on a submarine. The work space is just a little bit more confined.
Marshall Doig is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from San Angelo.