I did six years in the Navy. I was an Electrician's mate which, according to the Navy, is a sea intensive rating. What this means is that there are not that many shore based billets in comparison to sea based billets, so an EM spends the majority of his service assigned to a seagoing command. In keeping with this reality, the Navy has a sea/shore rotation for EMs that is- shall we say, a bit taxing.
Sailors who are electricians typically are assigned to a sea command immediately following their initial training, which takes up the first 7 months or so of their enlistment. That first sea posting lasts 51 months. This means that the first enlistment and the first year and a half of the second is spent assigned to a seagoing command. Most sea going commands spend about 65-75% of their time at sea. After this posting, that electrician is sent to a shore post for 36 months, and then back to sea duty for 60 months. After that, the rotation is 48 at sea followed by 35 months on shore.
In fact, in a 20 year career, a sailor who is an EM will spend 14 of those years assigned to a seagoing command. No surprise, it's the Navy, and the Navy is in charge of the sea.
Unless you are a woman. If you are a woman and you get pregnant, you get 18 weeks off WITH PAY after the baby is born. In addition, they are assigned to light duty on shore for the majority of their pregnancy before the baby is born.
Men get only ten days. When I was in, every time a command with women assigned to it was scheduled to deploy, a large percentage of the female crew members would get pregnant. Free time off, and time not being spent away from home. In fact, one in seven female service members are single mothers.
Our military cannot perform its mission if nearly ten percent of its force can't deploy because they can't find a baby sitter.
The U.S. Marine Corps announced that it was postponing its self-imposed deadline for women to be held to the same physical fitness standard as men. On January 1, 2014 female Marines would have been required to complete three pull ups on their physical fitness test; the same requirement as male Marines. Over 50 percent of women were unable to complete the new standard.
Therefore, Marines chose to delay the deadline and allow women to pass without meeting the equal standard. With the military so willing to ignore these equal standards, one must wonder, does the military have a double standard when it comes to gender equality?
Equality is the state of being equal, and equal is defined as being of the same measure, quantity, amount or number as another. The same standards, the same treatment, the same physical requirements, regardless of your gender. No political correctness, no ulterior motives. No senior level officers getting to bolster their Officer Evaluation Reports with accolades of leading the integration of females into infantry units.
You want equal? Make it equal. Same haircuts, same uniforms, same duty. If that means that you can't be a mother while in the service, so be it. Perhaps the time spent on convalescent leave could be added to your enlistment: 18 weeks of maternity leave means 18 more weeks of active duty without reenlistment bonus, or alternatively, enlistment means taking a Depo-Provera shot for the duration of your enlistment.
You are either equal, or you are not.