Last week, a women lieutenant became the first woman to complete the Infantry Officer Course for the United States Marine Corps.
In the past, 36 women have attempted to complete the Infantry Officer Course but due to its difficulty and rigorous physical demands, none have been able to complete the course until now. IOC is a thirteen week course with approximately a 25% wash out rate, with 10% dropping out on the first day.
The lieutenant has requested that her name not be released to the public, but her achievement is a milestone for all women in military service. She will be assigned to the 1st Marine Division in California.
The ban on women in combat was not lifted until 2013 and women were not fully integrated into all military combat roles until 2016. Only about 15% of people serving in the U.S. military are women.
The US Marine Corps, which publicly opposed opening all combat roles to women, has recently launched new efforts to recruit more women, including social media campaigns and advertisements that showcase women soldiers.
The US military has been subject to scrutiny over its treatment of women soldiers, specifically around the issues of rampant sexual assault and harassment toward women. A recent anonymous military survey reported that 14,900 service members in the US military have experienced some form of sexual assault from 2014 to 2016. Earlier this year, the Marine Corps was the subject of a Pentagon investigation over the leaking of nude photos of women service members on the internet without their permission.
Media Resources: Washington Post 9/21/17; BBC 9/26/17; NPR 9/25/17; Time 9/25/17; NBC 5/1/17; Feminist Newswire 12/3/15