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Area veteran takes a stand against gender inequality in the military

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POSTED: June 1, 2012 9:36 a.m.
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Phil Gore presented his paper, entitled "I'm a soldier, too," in March at the Women's History Conference at the University of Texas El Paso.

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Area veteran takes a stand against gender inequality in the military

By Caitlyn Boza

During 15 years of marriage to an active-duty female service member, Army veteran Phil Gore has noticed something unusual.

“When my wife and I meet people, they always assume I’m the service member and thank me for my service. They never think to extend the same level of gratitude to my wife,” he said.

He said that this behavior, among others he and his wife have experienced, made him realize there is a stigma that women in the military don’t perform the same jobs that their male counterparts do.

“That’s just not the truth. They do,” said Gore, who spent 10 years in the Army as a nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance specialist.

Gore, a 37-year-old Richmond Hill resident and a student at the University of Texas at El Paso, decided to take a stand. He wrote an academic paper about the perceptions — and misperceptions — surrounding women in uniform.

His paper, titled “I’m a Soldier, Too: Ensuring Female Service members Get the Credit They Deserve,” was selected to be a part of the university’s annual Women’s History Conference. He presented his findings to hundreds of colleagues in March, and his paper was published in the school’s archives.

Gore said the conference gave him the opportunity to raise awareness about the obstacles female service members face on a daily basis.

“I’m against any type of social injustice, and I fought against that in the military in foreign lands, so why wouldn’t I stand against a social injustice that’s happening right here at home?” he said. “The conference was a way to have my voice heard by a larger audience.”

Gore said he discovered that gender inequality in the military is the result of a larger, more pervasive problem.

“The fundamental problem lies in our nation’s laws,” he said. “While there are anti-discrimination laws that prevent sex-based discrimination in the workplace, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Equal Pay Act of 1963, this country still has not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, declaring that men and women are equal.”

The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced to Congress in 1923 and has since been reintroduced in every congressional session since 1982. It has never received the requisite number of state ratifications and so has not been adopted.

“Once our nation’s constitution allows for an environment of equality, we can then begin to alter the socialization process of our citizens, culminating in the rightful recognition and credit these women deserve,” said Gore.

Gore’s wife, Army Capt. Michelle Gore, said she is proud of her husband and that his efforts have served as an example for herself and their two daughters.

“His participation in the conference was a wonderful opportunity for him, and I could not be more proud. I have watched my husband grow and mature over the years and can say with certainty that this project truly sang to his heart,” she said.

Michelle Gore is an Army nurse at Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart. She has served for 20 years and has deployed to Bosnia, Haiti and Iraq.

 

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