The New Year is a new start for the American military. All branches of the armed service were supposed to turn in their detailed plans for how women will be fully integrated into all roles, including combat positions, by January 1, 2016. Then, starting January 2 and no later than April 1, the branches of the military will have to implement those plans.
With all the new jobs opening up, especially in combat roles, more pay grades are opening up as well. Kathrine Kidder is the Bacevich fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a military-focused think tank.
“On the whole,” she said, “the military’s really been a good equalizer when it comes to compensation,” because there’s a pretty straightforward method of determining pay, factoring in years of service, what job you’re doing, where and how dangerous it is.
But there are other kinds of wage disparity, said Fatima Goss Graves, senior vice president for programs at the National Women’s Law Center.
“The fact that women have historically and continue to be shut out of some occupations means that they make lower wages than they should,” said Goss Graves, and that’s what she said was happening in the military up until now. She said blocking women from certain combat designations also blocked better pay and benefits, but now that’s changing.
“This is going to be big not just for the military, it’s critical in terms of where it means women are standing more broadly in the workplace and in our society,” she said.
Goss-Graves said expanding the roles for women in the military will challenge perceptions about what jobs women can do, both in and out of the armed services.
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