New Uniforms for Female Soldiers Could Save Lives


female soliderSeveral hundred female Army troops are testing a new combat uniform that could replace the current "unisex" uniform, which is designed primarily for a man's body. The new model has shorter sleeves and knee pads in the right place for women's (generally shorter) legs; in general, the updated design is expected to help women perform more effectively.

But do the women even want them?

According to the AP, "Some military women are reluctant to embrace changes that would set them apart from their male colleagues ..." That's an understandable concern, especially given that women serving in war zones in the first place is already such a contentious issue. Some detractors might try to argue that upgraded uniforms for female soldiers would mean that women were getting preferential treatment over men.

But, the new uniforms wouldn't look different from the current ones; they'd just fit better. You can't really argue with that, especially because the current ones are so dangerous for some women.

When uniforms don't fit correctly, as many women report is the case -- it's more difficult for soldiers to engage in battle and defend themselves. Moreover, ill-fitting gear can cause long-term issues: One soldier reported that her current body armor "was so large it still chafed her hips when she had to sit for hours in a Humvee, and its unevenly distributed weight aggravated a knee injury." Another concerning issue? Because current one-piece flight suits make it nearly impossible to urinate in a plane, some women report dehydration or urinary issues because they aren't drinking water before a flight.

The bottom line: There shouldn't be separate uniforms for men and women. Rather, all soldiers should have uniforms that fit the contours of their bodies and protect them from harm as well as they can. If it helps soldiers to more effectively perform their job and save lives, how could anyone -- regardless of gender -- argue with that?


Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr

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Kat2U71 Kat2U71

Like the article said, they wouldn't *look* different, just *fit* different. I don't see thatas preferential at all, and it's not from any bias because my daughter is a sodlier, either. After all, women(most of us) don't wear the same underwear as men, do we??

nonmember avatar AF

The Air Force has already done this, our uniforms look the same too. Some makers have the buttons on the opposite side, but in reality, they definitely fit better than the unisex ones. No more fussing and having to get them tailored to fit right anymore. Although some are made for women that aren't as endowed below as others, so you have to buy bigger sizes to get the behind to fit better, but then you have a big waist, that even with the elastic, still have to cinch the belt tighter. But in all, they are way better. We already have separate dress uniforms, so why not do the same for the battle uniform that's worn 90% of the time.

weeze... weezer_cookie

Finally! As a former soldier/current airman who is 5'2", I think this is great. I always felt like the equipment was never made for me. I hope this goes DOD-wide.

nonmember avatar mark

Since woman are built different than men but are doing the same combat exercises it only makes sence that their uniforms fit correctly i don't care if they have to be taylor made they deserve it. Remember freedoms not free but it sure is worth a uniform that fits correctly.

Eleanor Santo

I agree completely. MY son is in the Army and on his way to Afghanistan but my niece just got back from there and I wouldn;t want anything less for her than I would want for him...I love ALL my soldiers!

Gina M Smith

While this change is all good and well, in some cases it wouldn't be practical. I served in the Army for 6.5 years. I am 5'11. There were may issues I had to deal with when I was issued my uniform and gear for deployment. Yes the ACU is cut for a male body type, but when it comes to height I need the male length. On the other hand, because I am so tall I ran into the problem of the uniforms not fitting the feminine curviture of my body type. On a separate issue...a few years ago the Army established new taped standards for female Soldiers. These changes were supposed to help but did the opposite. In most women it added 2% to their body fat, thus, making it more difficult to pass tape tests. If the Army is trying to change the uniform to make it fit better to a female body type, then shouldn't they also establish tape standards that actual women will pass. (Not a standard that only benefits females with no hips, chest, butt and things?)

Desmond Lynch

I agree, I agree. NOT. You want to be infantry also. Yeah right. Look, suck it up. My uniforms don't fit just perfect either. I am an equal opportunity person. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. You want to be equal but yet the army has to place millions of dollars to contractors to make you new uniforms cause " they dont fit just right". Stop with the excuses and shut up already. You want to be equal then cowboy up and put out something a pt plan that is equal to males. It is retarded when a 21 year old female comes in 2 min behind me on a run and still makes her time and I'm 34. EO my butt. Just wanting something for nothing...

ilove... ilovemyboys84

im not sure,,,i think there should be 1 uniform for both genders made to fit each person...its not hard to adjust things..

JHanc968 JHanc968

I think 2 uniforms if it helps

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