The United States Marine Corp's equality science is tight. This month alone, the number one reason not to screw with America has seen two firsts, from women in their ranks who have had the intelligence, grit and determination to move into leadership positions.
First, let's talk ground pounders.
According to Task & Purpose, on June 23rd, a female Marine graduated to become the second woman ever to complete the Corps' 13-week Infantry Officer Course (IOC). It's a notoriously tough slog of a training program that a good number of candidates wash out due to its grueling physical and psychological demands. Thirty other Marines, including two women, were unable to complete the training that the successful female candidate did.
As an IOC graduate, she's qualified to lead an infantry platoon into combat. But that's not what she'll be doing. Instead of fulfilling a role she worked her ass off to earn, she's moving on to serve in a different capacity by enrolling in and training to become a Ground Intelligence Officer. Once she's finished with this, she'll be the first female Ground Intel Officer in the Marine Corp. As such, she'll be qualified to command a recon or scout sniper platoon. For the time being, Marine Corps media relations types aren't releasing her name. I love this: they're not holding the IOC graduate up as something special: She's a part of the machine, like any other junior officer, as it should be.
If this isn't awesome enough, a female lieutenant colonel was just made the first ever female commander of a Marine Corp ground combat unit. Lt. Col. Michelle Macander has taken the reigns of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion based out of Camp Pendleton, California.
Given that the U.S. military only started allowing women to fulfill ground combat roles in March of 2016, seeing them move into command positions in such a relatively short period of time is both awesome and frustrating.
Awesome, because there's absolutely no reason a woman should not be able to take on any role that a man is allowed to fulfill. Frustrating, because organizations with fewer moving parts than the Marine Corps are still serving up bullshit excuses for why anyone who identifies as a woman isn't able to advance their careers with them.
If you can lead men into combat, you can sure as hell lead them through a meeting in a boardroom.
Image via Marine Corps Recruiting Comand, courtesy of Staff Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders