West Point is now extending gender equality to its campus by making the female cadets take the once elective boxing course. As of 2020, it will be a mandatory course for everyone. According to this article by the Washington Post the change took quite a few students by surprise. 2020 is also the year the academy is supposed to have integrated female cadets in to all combat roles.

The female cadets are part of a first at West Point: women who must box. Beginning this fall, West Point officials shifted from allowing female cadets to take the course as an elective to requiring it for all approximately 1,000 students in the Class of 2020. The move follows the Pentagon’s historic decision last year to fully integrate women into all combat roles for the first time, and allowing women to box marked the fall of one of the last barriers to women being allowed to do anything they are qualified to in the U.S. military.

Female cadets said they heard about the decision to mandate boxing as they were preparing to arrive on campus this summer, and were surprised.”- Washington Post

Besides, the politics of adding women to the class, the article mentions the scrutiny of high levels of concussions that the students have received while in the boxing class and insists that female students will only “complicate” the issue.

Adding women to the mix may complicate efforts to continue reducing concussions at West Point. Several medical studies suggest that young women are significantly more likely to sustain concussions than men.”- Washington Post

In my opinion, I think this is a great move for the military academy. Though I did not attend West Point, I did have the opportunity to spar and box in my spare time while I attended my officer basic course. Unfortunately for me, we had an All- Army female boxer on post. The boxing coach would throw us in the ring with her and she’d get a few good hits in and we’d be done. She was a beast in the ring. A couple of things I did learn from my short time in the ring: boxing is a hell of a workout and it helps you get over your fear of being hit. Sparring is definitely a confidence builder and it helps you know what you are capable of when faced with an attack.

Image courtesy of Washington Post