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To arrange a media interview with Ellie Smeal or other spokespersons at Feminist Majority Foundation, contact the FMF media department at 703-522-2214.


Date: June-05-97
Phone: 703.522.2214

Feminist Majority Condemns Push To Resegregate Military Training As Giant Step Backwards For Women

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Feminist Majority condemns recent calls for the resegregation of military basic training. The Feminist Majority, joining with a dozen other national women's rights organizations, has signed on to testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services by Kathryn Rodgers, Executive Director, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, opposing sex-segregated basic military training.

"Resegregation would represent a giant step backwards for women and for the military," said Jennifer Jackman, Ph.D., Feminist Majority Director of Policy and Research. "When men have done wrong the answer is not to punish women. If military officers cannot relate with women in the military how are they going to relate with women civilians in the U.S. and worldwide. Criminal behavior must be treated as such and not accommodated as normal boys-will-be-boys behavior."

"Current attempts to resegregate basic military training are nothing more than the latest in a long line of strategies to keep women out of the military and to preserve military-related entitlements for men," stated Jackman.

Jackman continued, "First, we were told women were not qualified to be in the military or to serve in combat. How could we forget the fear-mongering about sending our daughters into foxholes? With the technology of modern day warfare and the significant contributions of women military personnel in the Persian Gulf War, arguments about women's inferiority increasingly rang hollow.

"As barriers to women in the military finally began to fall, sexual harassment became the next strategy to keep women out. Let there be no mistake about it: sexual harassment is first and foremost a boundary-setting strategy, the goal of which is to marginalize women.

"Ironically, women's rights opponents are now using the aberrant behavior of men and the abuse of power by some men in the military to cloak the latest strategy to keep women out -- the resegregation of basic training. Legislation, introduced in the House by Representative Bartlett, not only penalizes women recruits, but also limits the opportunities of women drill instructors who would be allowed to train only the smaller number of female units.

"Resegregation would be detrimental to both women and national security," Jackman concluded.