Two women from the South Korean Army have earned the Expert Infantry Badge. The badge 'recognizes infantrymen who have demonstrated a mastery of critical infantry tasks.' While women have met the badge's requirements in the past, U.S. Army Infantry units remain closed to women, rendering them ineligible to earn and wear the badge. In contrast, the South Korean Army opens their Infantry ranks to qualifying women, allowing these two women to be recognized for this monumental accomplishment.
This moment is significant for two reasons. First, these two Staff Sergeants' mastery of skills support notions that certain qualified women have the physical capabilities of handling various tasks required of infantry soldiers. Second, the article notes that the men who tested alongside of them did not think twice about (or at least did not show any outward aversion towards) the fact that women were present.
Congratulations to Staff Sergeants Kim Min Kyoung and Kwon Min Zy for breaking gender barriers and working towards integrating the ranks! Now, hopefully the U.S. Army will self reflect on their own policies that exclude women within their ranks from the opportunity to earn the Expert Infantry Badge.
"This is a really big deal," he said. "This is history in the making because no other time has a woman ever actually earned and worn the EIB. This is monumental." And the other soldiers who tested alongside the female soldiers "didn't even blink an eye to it," Spano said. "It doesn't matter if you're male or female, a standard is a standard," he said. "You have to pass that standard. No one gets any breaks; no one gets any deals."