Shoe Without Youfévrier 08, 2016
Artist and writer William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I whispered these words to myself one warm May morning as I hauled boxes of my belongings into my uncle’s basement. He had generously offered to store 95 percent of what I owned. Although I am not a packrat, I did value many of my more sentimental possessions, such as boxes of letters and photographs, keepsakes and treasures from my travels.
Hitting the road was invigorating. The frustration and anxiety I’d felt over the preceding weeks of delay seemed to dissolve with every mile traveled. We felt free with few plans and few possessions. Our wanderings were guided by a collaborative project called The Free Dwellers.
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Transparent Standards: My first and foremost guiding principle was that the services would need to continue to apply transparent and objective standards for all career fields to ensure leaders assign tasks, jobs, and career fields throughout the force based on ability, not gender. In this respect, the services have been able to leverage the great amounts of data they gathered over three years’ worth of studies to make their standards up to date and operationally relevant. We found over the last few years that in some cases we were doing things because that’s the way we’ve always done them.
Population Size: Second, the fact that we’re holding everyone to the same high standards may mean that in some cases, equal opportunity may not always equate to equal participation. Here, we’ll incorporate lessons we’ve learned in the past, like how the Navy has integrated women onto surface ships and more recently, submarines. The Army and the Marine Corps will integrate women officers and senior enlisted into previously-closed units before integrating junior enlisted women, and where they can, they’ll assign more than just one woman into a unit at a time.