Employment equity in the SANDF : practical implications and challenges
In this Chapter the researcher clearly wanted to illustrate those women in truly combat type roles is not something new in the history of mankind. For this reason great emphasis was placed on the earliest history of women in the military and no mention was made of women pilots used in the Second World War, women being used in the Israeli Defense Force, women snipers, etc. A couple of historical aspects seem however to pitch up time and time again namely: The demand for women grows when men can no longer meet this demand. The moment when danger no longer exists, women are pushed back in traditional roles. Men, it seems like, conveniently forget tributes made by women in crisis times. Segal (1999:566) sums the situation up by stating that women's military roles are socially constructed, public policy, norms and women's behaviour are shaped, at least in part, by public discourse. What has happened in the past in many nations is that when the armed forces need women, their prior military history is recalled to demonstrate that they can perform effectively in various positions. Subsequently, there is a process of cultural amnesia of the contributions women made during emergency situations. In the aftermath of war, women's military activities are reconstructed as minor or even nonexistent, allowing the culture to maintain the myth of men in arms and women at home. When a new emergency arises, history is rediscovered. Lastly, it is interesting to note that no mention is ever made about women warriors on any military course presented within the SANDF, although the contribution of male warriors are discussed and studied at great length. It seems like women must never be underestimated and that they definitely have the potential to influence the military of the future in more ways than one.