Thursday, 19 June 2008

Women and children first

On Question Time at the moment they're debating whether women should be allowed to serve on the frontline in places like Afghanistan. I can't see that gender comes into it; women are quite capable of deciding whether they want to serve in the armed forces, and if they make that decision I don't see why they should be treated any differently to men who have signed up. Obviously in some scenarios physical strength might have some bearing; but then that would be about strength and size, not about gender.

In the same way I always get a little annoyed by the phrase 'women and children first', with its implication that women are in greater need of protection than men. I am, however, entirely in favour of putting children first - and I think that should apply to the army too. Soldiers aren't allowed to take part in military operations until they reach the age of 18, but you can sign up at 16 with a parent's consent. It just seems far too young to me.

2 comments:

thebristolblogger said...

Orwell had some interesting things to say on this subject when he was arguing with pacifist Vera Brittain in his wartime 'Tribune' column:

"it does not seem to me a bad thing that others should be killed besides young men"
(Scroll down to May 19)

Kerry said...

Either you're the human equivalent of Wikipedia, or you just Google an awful lot...