Renowned Former Marine Officer: Recruiters Need To Stop Selecting Weak Women

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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In an op-ed for the military blog Task & Purpose, former Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano blamed the problem of high female attrition in the service on recruiters bringing in weak women and refusing to provide real mentorship.

Germano was responding to a recent Associated Press article that discussed the Marine Corps’ efforts to meet its goals of 10 percent women in the force. Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has given the service an order to recruit more women.

“I’ve told them that 10 percent is where we want to go and they’re working on it,” Neller said. “Go recruit more women. Find them. They’re out there.”

To accomplish that effort, the service is vastly trying to shift its advertising efforts to remove the idea the Marine Corps is a “good ol’ boys club,” but for Germano, this change in advertising is only half of the game.

“For too long, the Marine Corps has turned a blind eye to female screening and preparation, resulting in extraordinarily high attrition at boot camp and the perception that female recruits are physiologically and mentally incapable of achieving more than the bare minimum,” Germano wrote Thursday. “If the Marine Corps is truly committed to increasing the number of women in the service, it will need a more robust recruiting strategy centered on screening and accountability for the mental and physical preparation of these women, rather than just an increase in recruiter prospecting at female high school sports events.”

In her experience as commanding officer of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion from 2014-2015, most women couldn’t do simple pull-ups or run 1.5 miles in under 13 minutes.

The attrition rate for females was double the male rate. According to Germano, women also suffered more injuries, both mental and physical.

And for Germano, poor performance and injuries among female recruits was because recruiting command refused to implement “more stringent recruiting and training methods for women.”

These women apparently aren’t getting the physical and mental preparation they need to succeed, which is why they fail to achieve physical standards and drop out at such high rates.

“Clearly, women can’t fix this problem alone — the men must be actively engaged and accountable for results,” Germano said. “The Marine Corps’ high attrition rate for female Marines isn’t a woman problem, it’s an accountability problem.”

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