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Women presume gender bias in military careers: poll

By Eric DuVall
America’s first female infantry NCO, Sgt. Shelby Atkins, from Cheyenne, Wyo., takes part in an urban operations exercise at the North Training Area at Camp Guernsey on June 9. According to Gallup, 63 percent of women said men would have an easier time earning promotions and advancements in the military than they would. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire/Wyoming Army National Guard
America’s first female infantry NCO, Sgt. Shelby Atkins, from Cheyenne, Wyo., takes part in an urban operations exercise at the North Training Area at Camp Guernsey on June 9. According to Gallup, 63 percent of women said men would have an easier time earning promotions and advancements in the military than they would. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire/Wyoming Army National Guard

June 30 (UPI) -- Nearly two-thirds of women said they would not have the same opportunities for advancement as men if they joined the military, a major hurdle for recruiters seeking to increase the number of women in their ranks.

According to Gallup, 63 percent of women said men would have an easier time earning promotions and advancements in the military than they would. Overall, 52 percent of Americans agreed with that notion.

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Part of that sentiment could be the lingering impression that women are prohibited from combat roles and other jobs, despite a 2015 Pentagon order prohibiting gender from consideration for all military jobs, including combat positions. The order opened some 220,000 combat positions, including elite fighting forces like the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, to female enlistees.

The lingering sentiment otherwise presents a challenge for military recruiters seeking to expand the number of women in the ranks. And while the survey showed the public widely regards the military favorably, many respondents were less enthusiastic about the prospect of a loved one enlisting. Fewer than half of respondents said they would recommend a loved one join the Army, Marines or Coast Guard.

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Gallup surveyed 1,026 people from April 24 to May 2. The poll carries a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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