Small Fraction of Army Women Want Combat Gigs

Army study comes as the service prepares to open new job opportunities to female soldiers

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Just 7.5% of women in the Army say they’re interested in moving into one of the combat jobs soon to be open to them, according to the results of an Army study reported Tuesday.

Of the 30,000 women who responded to the study, only 2,238 said they would want a job in infantry, armor, artillery or combat engineering, the Associated Press reports. Most of the women who expressed interest in combat jobs were age 27 and younger. The year-long study comes after a Pentagon order forcing the services to open the same opportunities to women that are available to men.

According to the AP, which was the first to see the results of the report, men expressed concern about losing jobs to women, while women worried about being given jobs due to gender favoritism rather than qualifications. Both genders, the survey revealed, say the Army shouldn’t lower standards in order to accommodate women in the physically demanding combat positions.

The survey shows that younger men and men who have served with women in the last two years are more likely to favor gender integration in the services. Officers surveyed expressed concern about sexual harassment, while men, according to David Brinkley, deputy chief of staff for operations at the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, expressed fears that anything they say could spell the end of their military careers.

“Did we have a problem? Yes. Are we aggressively solving it? Yes,” Brinkley said. “We’ve kind of created a little environment of fear, which we fear might frankly hinder integration.”