I have been blessed to serve in two great units over the last decade. I am fortunate that the first unit I served in, the best aeromedical evacuation unit in the Army, had some great female mentors for me as a young Private – eventually Sergeant. I feel that my experiences working with these females made me a better officer once I made the switch and went to a traditional combat support unit. Here are my five tips for working with female Soldiers.
# 1 Don’t treat us any differently than the males – This seems a little obvious. But don’t rush to carry something heavy for a female unless she is struggling with it, or if you would do the same for a male Soldier. I know that, as a culture, Americans value their women. There is nothing wrong with that, and in fact, I greatly appreciate that it is like this.
# 2 Don’t treat us with kid gloves – This kind of goes along with number 1 but what I mean by this is, don’t act like we are a walking EO complaint. I recall one time during pre-mob, someone made a bad joke. I wasn’t offended by it, but a male Soldier went to the EO rep and made a complaint on my behalf without even talking to me about it first. I’d already been in the unit for five years by then, and the rapport had been established for what my limits were.
# 3 Don’t be afraid to give us challenging tasks – The only way a Soldier can learn and grow, especially as a young leader, is to be given challenges. Some females tend to be shy, but have great potential. Look for these Soldiers and give them an opportunity to shine.
# 4 We aren’t shy – If you aren’t married, you will learn more than you ever thought possible about females after being in the military. We don’t have the luxury of being shy or embarrassed about anything. Actually, I finally found a place where I fit in!
# 5 We take great pride in being American Soldiers – There is no difference between the genders. There are good, there are bad, but the bottom line is that the uniform knows no gender when it comes to pride of service and living the Army Values.
Final Thoughts: We aren’t any different from the males, and don’t let the ones that try to use their gender to their advantage skew your opinion. Hold them accountable and emphasize teamwork and equality.
If you have any questions on this subject, feel free to contact us. Thank you.