Alumna educates on women in combat

­­­Southeastern alumna Angela Farizo returned home to campus Wednesday to speak about a hot button issue right now: women in warzones.
Farizo received her undergraduate degree and masters in history from Southeastern, and she is currently in Louisiana State University’s doctorate program for political science to continue her research on American women in combat.
In 1994, the Risk Rule was repealed by then Defense Secretary Les Aspin, and on Jan. 24, 2013,  Defence Secretary Leon Panetta announced the new policy allowing women to serve in combat roles. Panetta has finally lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles.
“The department of defense, on Feb. 9, 2013, issued changes to the policy to govern women in the United States Armed Forces,” said Farizo. “As a result, more than 14,000 additional positions will now be open to women.”
Despite this new legislation being passed, Farizo talked about how women have always played a huge role in all of America’s wars, starting with the American Revolution.
“Despite their limitations, they were participating in combat roles, and as nurses, aids, cooks and laundresses,” said Farizo. “Throughout their time, more and more legislation was passed as a result of this participation.”
Another point she addressed was that women participating in combat were showing their patriotism and skills. Once the Civil War began, women’s roles became increasingly more important, and they began to break through traditional gender roles. Women broke out of the house and onto the war scene, whether they were recognized or not.
“Women were farming back home because the men were fighting at war,” Farizo said. “They were also camp followers. Usually the term has a negative connotation, like prostitutes, but this was not the case in all instances. They were wives, children, merchants; everyone associated with the community followed the soldiers to war. Some wives would fight for their husbands if they were injured.”
Another important role women played during the Civil War was in spying on the enemy and by being actual soldiers. Espionage was a way for women to allot vital information on the enemy to the American government. Also, it was common for females to dress as males and fight on the front lines.
According to Farizo, participation of women in combat has always happened, although it was never documented. Many of these women, from past wars, have gone completely unrecognized. Even though the legislation has officially passed now, Farizo thinks it will still be a long time before the gender role stigma is lifted and men can actually accept women in the same positions as them.
“Just because women aren’t given an essential place, or the same rank and pay as men, they are there, they are doing the roles men have been doing for a very long time,” Farizo said. “I think we should all think about the implications of that, and whether or not you are for or against it, it’s inevitable. They are already there and have always been there.”