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Why are woman not allowed to work on USN's submarines

This is a discussion on Why are woman not allowed to work on USN's submarines within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Why are woman not allowed to work on USN's submarines? prefer if you also cite a source...


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Old February 16th, 2007   #1
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Why are woman not allowed to work on USN's submarines

Why are woman not allowed to work on USN's submarines?

prefer if you also cite a source

Last edited by WebMaster; June 3rd, 2007 at 07:41 PM.
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Old June 5th, 2007   #2
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i think a perfectly good group of working men can become unprofessional when a woman is brought to the group. Some men will show off, and some men will be sexist. (men at fault, not women, nessecarily) More importantly, there isn't room for privacy of another sex.

this quote is from about.com I can't post URL's until i have 15 posts
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10. Can women go on submarines?

Women are not currently assigned to submarine crews because of the very limited habitability and privacy onboard a submarine. However, women have been on submarines for short durations as civilian technicians for specialized equipment testing, family members for one-day dependent cruises, and female midshipmen conducting two-day orientation cruises.
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Old June 5th, 2007   #3
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The below quote was taken from a recent US interview with Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness by CNSNews.com. Same would apply to UK boats who spend a similar amount of time at sea.

Quote as follows: "Medical emergencies occur at two-and-a-half times the rate among women than they do among men, and a large percentage are due to pregnancy. If you create that kind of a situation, you shouldn't be surprised if the entire mission of the submarine is compromised. It's not a woman's issue, it's a national security issue. To say that men are just as susceptible to medical emergencies, as in the case of emergency appendicitis, for example, doesn't wash. I asked the Navy how many cases of appendicitis we've had, among either men or women, in the last three years. It's very rare. Pregnancies on the other hand are extremely common."

Also the US Navy estimated it will cost 300K per-female berth to convert the current batch of Subs to coed!
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Old June 7th, 2007   #4
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Why are woman not allowed to work on USN's submarines

I think men are more flexible and can endure a lot more harsh conditions than women.For this reason,I don't think women should be allowed to work on subs
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Old June 8th, 2007   #5
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I think men are more flexible and can endure a lot more harsh conditions than women.For this reason,I don't think women should be allowed to work on subs
that's a weak argument because there's women just as harsh or harder then their male counterparts, like stated before the reason for women not being allowed to work aboard a submarine is:

1: privacy issues
2: social impact/complications on the crew
3: hygine issues (period and such)

these are the main reasons to disallow women to work aboard subs in a lot of navies around the world, ofcourse one could give the example of the german, swedish and norwegian navies allowing women aboard only these submarines don't do missions over extended periods of time in most cases so thereby the social/privacy/hygine issues are limited
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Old June 8th, 2007   #6
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Anytime you put men and women together they are going to be sleeping with each other. Lets face it! I was in one of the first US military Dorms that ever went coed so I think I can speak from some experience.

On a land base? Probably not a problem.

On a skinny little tube buzzing around the worlds oceans 200' down for months at a time? A problem! There's going to be issues and pregnancies because nothing can stop biology.

I dont think its anything that cant be dealt with, and I admit woman make a huge contribution to our military, and I honor them for it, I still think it would be a bad idea to have woman on a SSN.
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Old June 10th, 2007   #7
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I can't fault any comments made here thus far, as it does come down to the practicalities of the human condition. However, what about this for a thought....

A submarine full of women, with not a man in sight.


No disrespect to female service personnel, but i find even the idea raising the hairs on the back of my neck !

Personal experience of the limited co-ed facilities on surface ships, as well seeing how having even just one or two women on board a ship affects how men operate / loose concentration, tell me that current policies are pretty much correct.


Your thoughts...?


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Old June 10th, 2007   #8
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'Ever seen the pregnancy rate of women on board Aircraft Carriers?

Women in military is still a major problem. Young people are the most sexually active, and often times, this has not been fully accounted for in the military service.
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Old June 11th, 2007   #9
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I have only ever been on conventional subs in dock and never at sea but it is immediately apparent that there is zero privacy. Typically sleeping accomodation is 3 bunks high either side of a corridor that people move through 24/7. You only have a curtain to pull across your bunk in that corridor and you have to share that bunk with your Oppo when he is on shift. The nukes do have more room but privacy is virtually unheard of.

In the future I suspect that Subs will get so large that this is no longer an issue (the new Astute class partially solves this) or we will see all female crews if someone takes the brave decision to do this.
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Old June 11th, 2007   #10
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'Ever seen the pregnancy rate of women on board Aircraft Carriers?
No, I haven't seen these figures anywhere! Are there any statistics available in the public domain re this? A lot of claims are being made which may or may not be correct. I would like to see some accurate statistics to back up these claims one way or the other.

Some navies do have females aboard their conventional submarines and it seems to work OK. However, I accept that nuclear submarines may spend much longer on patrol so problems associated with privacy, etc, would be much greater in a nuclear submarine. On the other hand nuclear submarines are larger so providing privacy should be easier (though still difficult) than in a conventional submarine.

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Old June 11th, 2007   #11
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The main issue on UK/US Nuclear Boats is not one of privacy, it's one of national security. The statistical likelihood of a female crew-member becoming ill is three times greater than that of a male, which could result in an SSN or worse, SSBN being compromised because it is forced to abort a patrol or surface to CASAVAC a critically ill member of the crew.

Also the US DoD estimates it will cost 300K per-female crew space to change it's current batch of Sub's to coed!
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Old June 12th, 2007   #12
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The main issue on UK/US Nuclear Boats is not one of privacy, it's one of national security. The statistical likelihood of a female crew-member becoming ill is three times greater than that of a male, which could result in an SSN or worse, SSBN being compromised because it is forced to abort a patrol or surface to CASAVAC a critically ill member of the crew.

Also the US DoD estimates it will cost 300K per-female crew space to change it's current batch of Sub's to coed!
I accept that the figures you mention here and in post 3 relating to medical emergencies provide a strong case for females not being assigned to nuclear subs which may deploy for long periods. The cost of 'converting' current subs would also be hard to justify.

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Old June 19th, 2007   #13
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I see no arguments for not letting women serv on sub's. In The Royal Norwegian Navy, we had the world's first female sub CO as long ago as 1995.
No alterations of the subs layout has been made.
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Old June 19th, 2007   #14
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I see no arguments for not letting women serv on sub's. In The Royal Norwegian Navy, we had the world's first female sub CO as long ago as 1995.
No alterations of the subs layout has been made.
The Royal Norwegian Navy subs are SSKs and I would imagine that they have a fairly short patrol duration, at least when compared to something like a USN SSN or SSBN. A short USN patrol might only last a few days, but a long patrol could run a few months. Given the cramped conditions, plus US tendencies to exclude women from "combat roles" a long duration patrol could well become an issue. On surface vessels, especially on large vessels like carriers, it's much less of an issue.

Something else to consider is how female US personnel interact with male counterparts... One might try getting a copy of "Love my Rifle more than you," sorry, don't remember the author. It was written by a female in the US Army serviving in Iraq. I didn't read all of it, but the general sense I got from it was that the troops in the service need to do some growing up...

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Old June 19th, 2007   #15
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Norwegian subs have been deployed to the Med for several months. Time between shore visits can vary.
I don't think US female sailors are any different than others. That they are more "lively" is just a pathetic excuse.
Norwegian policy is not to let couples sail on the same ship
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