HARTFORD, CT – Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently announced that all combat jobs in the military will be open to women for the first time. As with the racial integration of the armed forces and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the full expansion of combat roles for women represents the opening of another door by which individuals can serve our nation in the armed forces regardless of who they are, what they look like, or who they love.
The Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) is firmly committed to the belief that no one should be prevented from realizing their full potential on the basis of an immutable characteristic, be it race, color, ancestry, sex, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation. On front lines and assembly lines, in boardrooms as well as classrooms, women must have an equal role shaping the future of our nation, and should not be prevented from doing so by obsolete notions of what they can do.
“In opening all combat roles to women, Secretary Carter and President Obama have sent a clear message that the United States considers women an integral part of our nation’s defense and way of life,” said Executive Director Tanya Hughes.
The CHRO fully supports this latest development, but cautions that there are still additional steps to be taken before there is full equality in the military. Transgender service members still cannot serve openly and often do not receive the treatment and services they need and deserve. Male and female victims of sexual assault who are brave enough to come forward are met with derision and inaction.
“The expanded presence of women in combat roles is a major milestone on the road to having a military as diverse as our society, but the momentum toward full equality must continue,” added Deputy Director Cheryl Sharp.
The CHRO is one of the oldest state civil rights agencies in the nation, established in 1943. Its continuing mission is to “eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement and to establish equal opportunity and justice for all persons within the state through advocacy and education.”