The decision to allow women to serve in combat units within a few years has local recruiters wondering how that could affect their job.
One woman who has been in the military for 10 years now says not much has changed as far as the number of women serving.
“I had not determined what branch until I was in my senior year and an army recruiter approached me and after I spoke with him, took the test, I knew I was 100% sure I wanted to join the Army,” says Nancy Sasser.
Now a recruiter herself, she sees the challenges when it comes to women.
“You don’t know what goes on until you actually do recruiting and I see, it is more difficult of a market to recruit women in general, just because of the prospective that the army is men,” Sasser says.
The Pentagon is lifting a nearly 20-year-old ban on women in combat, opening 237,000 combat-related jobs to women in the next few years.
“There’s about, I believe 10% women in the army,” says Sasser.
While she doesn’t know if this change will help with her struggle to get women to join, Sasser says the interest in combat is there.
“I’ve actually had two females approach me in reference to the combat jobs,” Sasser says, “I think some of them may be waiting for those jobs to open for them to determine whether they want to join.”
That’s a conversation she doesn’t typically have.
“I don’t think I would have expected a female asking about infantry, it’s mainly men who want to do infantry or the combat arms,” she says.
Sasser adds any way she can attract more women to the Army is a positive.
“I think that females will be a great asset in the army, we currently are but it would absolutely assist if there were more,” she says.
Pentagon officials say they will be able to deny women for certain combat categories and the physical and mental standards for these positions will not be lowered for anyone.
Some women’s rights advocates believe this change will help reduce the high number of military sexual assaults revealed in a recent Pentagon report.