Though, only 15 percent of the women serve in actual combat, recruiters say women are seeing more opportunities to fit in. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 23, 2012)
News 12 This Morning / Monday, Jan. 23, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's not just a man's world anymore.
According to a new study, the number of enlisted women has jumped from 2 to 14 percent since 1973.
"You can see the different things that females can do and there was a stereotype back then that it was an all-male Army," said Sgt. Steve Whitaker, the station commander at the U.S. Army recruiting station in Augusta.
This week, Shanice Harris is shipping out to basic training.
Harris, one of the Army's newest recruits, says she's following in her mother's footsteps.
"I am ready. I'm not scared at all," she said.
The current group of females is more racially diverse compared to their male counterparts and military women are less likely to be married but that doesn't concern Harris.
"If my mother did it, I can do it," she said.
She knows she may have to work harder to prove herself to her peers.
"I am a female. Some men don't think females are up to it. I think I will have to prove myself," Harris said.
Santoria Francis manages to juggle it all despite the physical demands. The future soldier has a 4-year-old girl and a husband she takes care of along with going to school to finish up her information management degree.
"I find, at times, it is difficult to manage schools and family and the Army," Francis said.
Although only 15 percent of the women serve in actual combat, recruiters say women are finding more opportunities to fit in.
"About 80 percent of all the jobs in the Army are computer-based jobs," Whitaker explained.
Francis says she joined the Army to help her decide.
"I didn't know where I wanted to go with that major," Francis said.
The number one reason women joined the ranks, according to the study, is to serve their country, but right behind that came education benefits and traveling the world. More women than men also said another incentive to join was because jobs are hard to come by in our current economy.
The Army's overall numbers are actually shrinking, even though the number of enlisted women is on the rise.