In response to Alan Barron's letter titled 'Women in combat role is a backward step', I can't help but think the author must have forgotten that the only women who will be put in combat roles are those who want to be there.
In his piece Alan talks about the community's views regarding women in combat, but fails to make a link as to why a community's views should trump a woman's right to serve her country, in a way of her choosing.
He then goes on to cite studies, or at least allude to them, which assert that women in combat roles 'lower battle efficiency and male cohesion within combatant units'.
This may well be true, but I believe it says more about the kind of gender biased culture within our armed forces than it does any negative aspect of women in combat.
If male soldiers cannot form a cohesive combat unit with women involved, then surely this is the problem that needs to be addressed, and not the mere presence of women.
Likewise the author discusses 'modern society's desire to see women shielded from domestic violence, and somehow thinks it contrary to then allow them to serve in the military.
Again does he not see that we aren't putting women in harm's way, but rather allowing them to choose this service? Or does he believe that our society is in some way accepting of harm coming to people, provided they are males?
This letter shows a mindset clearly rooted in the past, in modes of thinking that simply don't function well in our modern society.
It is not the place of our society to define what a woman can and cannot do, and we should not shy away from allowing women to put themselves in harm's way, any more than we would show aversion for any Australian, male or female, to risk their lives serving our country.