Female troops sue to break combat glass ceiling
Two female soldiers are suing the U.S. government over restrictions on women in combat, claiming that the policies violate their constitutional rights.
Bloomberg News reports that U.S. Army reservists Jane Baldwin and Ellen Haring filed the lawsuit against Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Secretary John McHugh.
The women argue that current policies infringe on their Fifth Amendment right to equal protection and restrict the potential for advancement in the Army.
For many soldiers, promotions are based on combat duty, and the women argue that because they have restricted combat assignments, their opportunity for promotion is limited, New York magazine reports.
The Army recently announced that it would consider allowing women into its elite Ranger School, but as of now, women are prohibited from joining the special forces or conducting long-range reconnaissance operations.
Women are currently forbidden from being on the front line of combat, but many woman argue that their jobs already place them in combat situations. The Army has circumvented its own policies by placing women with ground combat units.
A Pentagon spokesman said in an email that Panetta is “strongly committed to examining the expansion of roles for women in the U.S. military, as evidenced by the recent step of opening up thousands of more assignments to women.”
Last week the Army opened more than 14,000 positions to women that were previously restricted.