I did not see this coming, but Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey has hit the nail on the gender equality head with his discussion of the decision to allow women into combat positions in the military. As reported on ThinkProgress.org in this piece by Hayes Brown, Dempsey has argued that a more gender equitable military will be a higher quality military. He went on to say (as quoted in the Think Progress article):
DEMPSEY: We’ve had this ongoing issue with sexual harassment, sexual assault. I believe its because we’ve had separate classes of military personnel at some level. Now, its far more complicated than that. But when you have one part of the population that is designated as ‘warriors’ and one part that is designated as something else, that disparity begins to establish a psychology that — in some cases — led to that environment. I have to believe the more we treat people equally, the more likely they are to treat each other equally.
I admit that I have some negative biases about the military and the problem of masculinity in the military, but Dempsey is so dead on with this analysis that he has clearly demonstrated that the highest ranking officer in our military is a feminist. Little about the military comforts me, but this is one thing that does. Dempsey’s argument is about no longer justifying sexism, and actively making change happen to ensure gender equality on all levels. It is clear that changing the structure of gendered relations of power can lead to positive changes interpersonal relationships. For the military, this means changing the culture that has far too often led to sexual harassment and assault of our female soldiers. Furthermore, this means that the ladies will have more opportunities to rise up the ranks in our military and hopefully influence the way our military conducts itself globally. You go, Dempsey.