Women face many disadvantages when it comes to being a member of the military. First, women are outnumbered by men, as only 14% of active soldiers are made up of females. Second, though women can be strong, their physical strength is usually not as strong as their male counterparts. Third, their body types are much different. Having said this, throughout history, women have effectively served in the military, displaying outstanding leadership qualities both on and off the battlefield. In American military history, women have achieved notable accomplishments in espionage, field medicine, and combat, and the below women exemplify such significant achievements. But to prove the point that women are disadvantaged, here’s why it’s important—the body types between men and women are different, and women in the military are forced to wear uniforms and armor that were made for men. However, a new military armor for women soldiers copies Xena Warrior Princess in order to make armor suitable for women to wear as well.
Even though women are currently not allowed in combat, some are still close enough to battle that they need to wear protective armor. Right now, women soldiers must choose from 11 different sizes of male armor, but since these pieces do not fit women the same way they fit men, it makes it difficult for these women to accurately do their jobs.
Most male soldiers are taller than women soldiers, and the body armor women are wearing sits too high on the neck and too low on the torso, making it uncomfortable and hard to maneuver. Plus, since women are curvier than males, the armor doesn’t fit all of their bodies the right way, making it too tight in some areas while too loose in others.
Finally, something is being done about it. Right now, the military is currently in the works of creating body armor made specifically for women soldiers. This armor has been mirrored from the armor worn by Xena: The Warrior Princess, as it contours to the natural curve of the hips and chest of a woman’s body. The armor will also have a shorter torso.
The military is designing this armor from a special chemical design that not only fits a woman’s body better than the male armor suits but also feels lighter in weight (though it’s really not). The design has been created so that this armor is still extremely effective when it comes to protection.
Though the step is being made in the right direction, it is currently in the hands of the government to determine when and how they will get the budget to produce these designs in mass quantities. At the moment the US military is using Generation III Female Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) armor for female soldiers. It will keep on evolving based on the feedback and one day a perfect female armor might be a reality.
It is predicted that the number of women in the military will grow over the next decade. If this is true, it’s important that the new line of armor is tested and produced more quickly in order to provide this next generation of women soldiers the protection they deserve.
The following video by USAF details how it is using specifically tailored armor for its female force: