Service members discuss roles of women in military

University Park, Centre County, Pa. - Serving from 1993 to 1997 as an Army Specialist, Fawn Patchell said her experiences as a woman serving in the military were much different than they are today.

"Because when I was first in women had to show that they were better than men just to be considered on the same level," Patchell said. 

With the majority of the audience being made up of Penn State's ROTC students, Patchell said discussions like this can help prepare them for the future.

"There are still conflicts between gender and gender roles in the military. And they're going to have to be dealing with it and know what to expect. They're gonna have to deal with others who have not yet accepted a woman's role," Patchell said. 

The panelists discussed their experiences on deployment, leadership and role expectations for women over the years.

"I don't think people get it in that women have been serving since the Civil War, The American Revolution, and they had to disguise themselves as men in order to serve, Then they were relegated to only being nurses and then it's 1980 we had our first female class of cadets that graduated from West Point," Adult Learner Programs Director Leslie Laing said.

While roles for women serving have changed, Patchell said she hopes the progress continues to close the gaps.

"Males and females can respect each other for the jobs that they do and their abilities to...work in just a wide range of very stressful situations," Patchell said.  


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