Geva is thrilled to present the world premiere of Other Than Honorable, written by Jamie Pachino and directed by Kimberly Senior, running April 25-May 21! Here’s a peek into the context surrounding the play:
In Jamie Pachino’s new play, Other Than Honorable, Grace Rattigan and Alvina Croft reflect on the unique struggles they’ve faced being accepted as women in the military. Discrimination against women in the military stems from deep-seeded debates about women’s role in defending our nation: While women have fought alongside men in defense of the US throughout history (including amazing stories of women passing as men in order to fight during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars), the official inclusion of women in the US military, and particularly in combat, has always been controversial. Other countries don’t seem to have the same controversy, and in 9 countries, women are actually conscripted into service. During WWI, it’s estimated that 35,000 women served in the U.S. Army in largely supportive positions: women served as nurses, administrators, secretaries, telephone operators and architects. During WWII, the Women’s Army Corps was established, and women again served in great numbers – estimated at 140,000 – in jobs that would, according to the Army’s website, “free a man to fight.” They worked in fields like military intelligence, cryptography, parachute rigging, and maintenance and supply. Additionally, more than 60,000 Army Nurses serve around the world and over 1,000 women flew aircraft for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. When test programs in 1975 indicated that women could keep up with men, the Army consolidated basic training for male and female soldiers. So the Women’s Army Corps, which was created to help protect and train women in the army, was disestablished in 1978.
Women served a critical role in the Persian Gulf War, which led, in July 1994, to then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin issuing a “Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule,” directing that women were eligible to be assigned to all positions for which they qualified, except for units below brigade level whose primary mission is to engage the enemy in direct combat. Then, in 2001, the terrorist attacks of September 11 marked another pivotal moment for Army women. The Global War on Terror Campaign dramatically expanded the roles open to Army women, and in 2013, then-Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta lifted the ban on women in direct ground combat roles. And as of January 2016, all military positions were opened to women. As of July, 2016, women made up nearly 15% of the military, with over 200,000 women serving in the armed forces.
For more information, check out the Women in the Army website and particularly this video, produced by the U.S. Army, which pays tribute to women trailblazers in the military, and to the long road towards women’s full integration into the U.S. Armed Forces.