You know, the military has been around for quite some time. And having women in the military isn’t anything new, but it wasn’t until 2009 for some bright person to realize that maybe women need body armour built for them.
Who woulda thunk it? Luckily, it’s finally happening.
According to the Associated Press, women soldiers from Fort Campbell deploying to Afghanistan will field test the first Army body armor that is shorter and better tailored specifically to fit women’s physiques. Nineteen women from the 101st Airborne Division, who will be directly interacting with Afghan women during the coming deployment, have been equipped with the prototypes of the newest generation of Army tactical vests.
The new vests are made shorter to accommodate smaller torsos and is specifically tailored to take into account that women, unlike men (unless you count manboobs) have breasts! Maj. Joel Dillon, the Army’s assistant product manager for the vests said, “With a vest that is too long, if they lay their rifle on the ground or drop it, it’s very hard to bend over to pick it up because that plate digs into their side. Now they can bend down and touch their toes and so they are more mobile and therefore you can get additional safety because you can perform better,” he said.
What’s also important to note about the vests, is that they feel a lot lighter, and makes it easier for the woman soldiers to maneuver in them. Of course this is important because women in the Army have been fighting on the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan for years, Dillon said. He noted that women now make up 14 percent of the Army and are closer to combat than they have been previously.
Former gymnast, Spc. Gilliann Campbell, 22, called the new body armor “a dream” compared to the old vests and she said she feels more flexible in them. “I remember as a joke, my friends tipped me upside down and my old armor fell right off me. It didn’t fit me at all. But with this, I did a cartwheel when I first got it and it did not move at all,” she said.
Now that the military has finally recognized the fact that women need special equipment, who knows what else this could lead to. You know maybe things like, better laws protecting women from sexual harassment and rape during their enlistments. Baby steps, I guess.