Five Tips for Working With Female Soldiers

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.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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5 thoughts on “Five Tips for Working With Female Soldiers”

  1. I truly believe that if women have the strength, endurance and resilience to carry and deliver a child then they can accomplish anything. I also know that unless you are an Amazon then most women are not as (weight-lifting) strong or as fast as their male counterparts. That’s not a blanket statement for ALL women as there are exceptions but the majority of the time this rings true. I just want to say to all the guys – it is nice that you want to be the big, bad protectors but never, ever underestimate the maternal instinct because once you become family your she-soldier will defend you like a mama to her cubs.

  2. Just to start off, Happy Veterans Day! And thank you all for your service!

    I am loving the guts and truthfulness of this post! Women who are in the military are there because they are of equal value to our country as men are, so I totally agree with the first point of not treating women any differently. If they want to be a part of the military, let them and treat them just as you would any other man. But I do, however, think that women should be held to the same standards as men when entering and serving in the Army.

    We have a cousin who is serving in the Army and she absolutely loves what she does. And man, I would not cross her at all when it comes to, well, anything. She is just as gutsy, ballsy and filled with the American Spirit and Pride as any other male Soldier. Personally, I could not fulfill that role but she is definitely someone who was meant to serve.

  3. Candace, I like that you addressed the American “culture” of men wanting to take care of women. That is a difficult thing to do in the Army. We want to treat everyone fairly and judge them, as Chuck mentioned, based on their skills and what they bring to the fight. That was actually one of the big discussion points concerning women serving in combat arms…many believe that the culture of protecting women first would extend onto the battlefield. I will admit, it is a hard thing to shake, but your tips are great reminders as to how to mitigate that urge when working with female Soldiers. Nice post!

  4. Good post, Candace.

    As a rule of thumb, I try to treat everyone as an individual. I give people the benefit of the doubt and form my opinions based upon their skill-set, attitude and work-ethic. I could personally care less if someone is a woman, a minority, or anything else.

    I’ve met good and bad female soldiers and good and bad male soldiers. Military leaders definitely shouldn’t stereotype and have preconceived notions about what someone can and can’t do, based upon their gender.

    Thanks for sharing these great tips, Candace.


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