More women in the class of 2018?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by educ8, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    This article is several months old, but it implied that the percentage of women offered appointments this year would increase. "Next year, we're going to recruit a class that will move from 15 to 20 percent," Caslen says. "We don't know yet what the right number is."

    http://www.npr.org/2013/10/22/239260015/west-point-women-a-natural-pattern-or-a-camouflage-ceiling

    The article clearly has an angle, but the substance is that USMA was directed to increase the number of women at the Academy.
    Any FFRs know if there were any changes to accomplish the directive?
     
  2. 845something

    845something Member

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    It's a nice goal, but more difficult to accomplish quickly than making a statement. Internally to West Point, there are really only three ways to increase the numbers for any class composition goal (females in this case) in a specific year:
    1) entice more females to apply with the hope that they win vacancies (preferred, but difficult with unforecastable results)
    2) shift how they select candidates for Additional Appointees where they can select from the NWL candidate pool at large without regard to WCS (very small percentage/numbers with previous USMAPS commitments - by the way, if they pushed out LOAs for females and they didn't win vacancies/top 150, this is where they would come in under)
    3) go against congressional law by busting the class size, or one of the other provisions of how to make appointments, to select more females as AA. Highly unlikely with the focus on budgetary costs and generally smaller class sizes, as well as generally being a bad idea to go against the wishes of a MOC.

    Long term-
    1) shift focus to bringing more females into USMAPS
    2) comprehensive recruiting focus/efforts across all avenues - regular candidates, minorities, athletes, and Soldiers - to target females
    3) change congressional law
    4) encourage MOC to principally nominate females
     
  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Accepting more females to SLE. Although I don't think it will help. Anybody attending SLE had some interest in West Point. SLE will just increase or decrease that interest.
     
  4. Stevewar2

    Stevewar2 Member

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    Women

    RC stated to me that they did get more female applicants this year. He attributes some of that to the future ability of women to go in to all the various branches to include Infantry. Two women actually selected Infantry this year (can't get it though - Army not ready yet). WP can also encourage higher participation by different groups by outreach events, publicity, and success stories.
    I'm sure WP can and does play around with the WCS and other factors to get the composition that it desires. An example is the CFA. If it was totally fair, the standards would be the same.
    BTW - half of the 40 "permanent" Captain spots for this year's Firstie's are held by women. They only make up way less than 20% of USMA.
     
  5. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    It will be interesting to see what the numbers are when the official Class of 2018 portrait is released in the Fall.

    For now, my DS was told by his FFR that there was a "big push to get more women" this year and, therefore, DS had better get higher and higher test scores to make sure he secured a spot.

    I think from reading the USMA Board of Visitors report that USMA uses the term "floor," i.e. minimum number, when talking about the number of women at USMA. Without any concrete numbers at this point, it does indeed appear that USMA raised that floor.

    If the number of female applicants increased, then I suppose it's possible that the percentage of female admits will stay within a few admit percentage points of males. It's been a few points higher in recent years. Multiple reasons for this. I suspect, though, that, while female applications did increase, they only did so marginally, and the floor will have to be satisfied by a diverging admit percentage. Conjecture on my part at this point, but the numbers will be released later.
     
  6. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    So the problem of appointing a larger percentage of women is the same as any other diversity goal. Quality, recruitment and retention. With the greater number of female applicants, were they of sufficient quality to get an appointment and then to be perceived as being worthy of that appointment?

    Then I suppose there would be diversity sub groups...women of color, Caucasian women, Female athletes, etc.
     
  7. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    I am always a little concerned when we try to reach "diversity goals". If that means more intensive efforts to get high quality candidates that is good.

    However, that often goes hand-in-hand with "adjusting" standards downward.

    I think our women candidates are excellent - I work with several (as a FFR) every year. In one of my 2 Congressional Districts this year a female candidate was better than the 31 male candidates in my opinion. However, if I have two candidates with exactly equal records, the female candidate will most likely get an offer.
    Male candidates - make sure you have a very strong file that is clearly stronger than the female candidates in your District. I am not making a judgment on this nor am I "anti-women" - - it is just a fact.
     
  8. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Appears to me the military and USMA is facing something which challenged the corporate world...

    If women are roughly half of the population, greater than half of the college graduates, then why not 50% of the leaders?

    In the tech field the top leaders (CEO's, COO's, Bus Unit leaders etc) tend to have CS or EE degrees, with 25-30 years of experience. And usually a MBA or similar. It's viewed as a requirement, for many good reasons.

    So go back 25-30 years and look at the percent of women CS/EE graduates. It's a very low number. Then look at the percentage that stayed past 10-15 years. Lower yet. Those with MBA's even lower.

    So by most measures, the current percentage of women in leadership roles in tech corporations is far higher than statistics would imply. And that is because there is a very active affirmative action type motion in place in most corporations. And yes, that implies lower bars, hand grooming, many things which some would consider to be unfair. But it's a reality.

    But the only other way to change the % this year is via a time machine.

    So if you desire to increase the percentage, you are going to have to change hiring patterns right out of school. Oh wait, Corporations already hire nearly any qualified female engineer. And even lower the bar some over the other applicants. Still not enough. So you have to increase the supply.

    There are other factors impacting retention. Improved maternity, etc.

    But when it's all said and done, there is a lower percentage of females willing to deal with engineering math and enter the college programs. Just like there is a lower percentage willing to deal with Army "stuff", much less USMA "stuff".

    My DD is a perfect case in point. All indications are is that she would be as competitive as her brother for USMA Appointment. Zero desire. She loves USMA, the cadets. But has zero desire to live in that world or even in the Army world. And is making the same decision about career fields which involve three semesters of calc (engineering degrees) She's capable of doing field work or calc, just does not want to!!!

    It is going to be very hard for USMA to change this aspect of human nature given the Army's mission and nature of work. It's not like they have not been working the issue for a while, you can already see the impact of things in USMA control. (Look at Reg/Brigade leadership stats vs cadet demographics as a percentage)

    The comment from the officer in the PBS article made me laugh... if corporations or USMA went "gender blind" on admissions she would not be happy with the result.

    To be clear, I'm not implying that USMA and the Army is doing everything right in this area. Nor that they should not try to address it. Just that it's not a new problem, and one that impacts many other fields. With few easy answers.
     
  9. navygirl89

    navygirl89 Member

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    This isn't necesarily true, there were several girls at SLE with me who only applied because of Marketing Mail from West Point; they didn't really have an idea of what it was about at the time and they have now accepted offers to the Academies. (Navy was my first choice and SLE changed that, so there's that too)
     
  10. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Not to argue with you, but I said "some interest." I also stated "accepting," not "marketing." I also said "increase or decrease" - somewhat applies what happened to you.
     
  11. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    Funny how that works out :rolleyes:
     
  12. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    It may be because Command wants a diverse set of Captains...or the women are a very capable and talented group who have earned those positions. I suspect that it is the latter.
     
  13. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    How are the captains elected or appointed? Is it Order of Merit? Does command play a part or is it left to the cadets to elect? How about the First Captain; how does that selection go?

    I read somewhere recently that there had been quite a few Corps Squad athletes as First Captains. I could read that several ways, but I've never seen the selection process explained.
     
  14. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    This quote comes from a 1989 article about Kristen Baker (the first female First Captain). It mentions a selection process, but I can't find in print a description of the actual process.

    "The Superintendent of West Point, Gen. Dave R. Palmer, said: ''She does not have the position because she's a woman. She has it because she emerged during the selection process in her own right.''

    One senior is chosen each year to be brigade commander and first captain, based on academic success, athletic ability and military prowess. Until now, a handful of women had held deputy positions."

    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/09/nyregion/west-point-picks-woman-to-lead-cadet-corps.html
     
  15. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    This has always been an issue. We complained of the same thing back in the mid 80's (high percentage of female cadet Captains). We figured that if there were two or three equally qualified candidates for a Captains position, the default was the female. We assumed that was the system as the over all caliber of the senior cadet leaders seemed to be about the same. There were similar percentages of great ones as well as incompetent ones. Its a leadership learning environment, some dont do as well of each sex. I still think the leadership does anyone a disservice when the put them into a position they are not ready to execute. The visibility just tends to be magnified when its a demographic that is less represented. (females, football players, etc..) People have a natural tendency to say " they just got that position because they are a ...." There are plenty of great leaders there who earned their position by being the best. (and some you will wonder- how the heck????)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  16. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    This is a very "politically sensitive" subject.

    Before I get hate mail let me say that I am not against having female Cadets and female Cadet Captains. Nor am I implying that the female Cadets chosen for the Captain positions are not qualified.

    However, ask almost any male Cadet and they will tell you that there is a HUGE, huge, huge, emphasis on selecting MANY females for high positions in the chain of command. It is a joke among many male Cadets who have consequently been "turned-off" from seeking command positions due to these politics.

    Another big change at West Point since I was a Cadet many years ago. The TACS and Tac NCOs are now in the barracks full time and in effect run the Companies. The Cadet chain-of-command has very little power compared to years ago. I was a Company commander as a Cadet - I talked with my Tac about 2 times a week at most and he allowed the Cadets to run the company on a day-to-day basis. He would get involved only if he saw something going very wrong.

    Based on the strong control by the Tacs and extremely strong affirmative action to have female Captains, many Cadets are indifferent to seeking chain-of-command positions.
     
  17. Stevewar2

    Stevewar2 Member

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    Female CPTs

    SUPE thinks that the high number of female captains is because they are the best qualified. His words, not mine.
     
  18. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Ummm...

    Very interesting topic and conversation!

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  19. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    Do you really think the SUPE would say anything different? Of course he is going to support all of the people picked to be Captains. He is not going to say that the people he picked were not the best.
     
  20. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Women in the Class of 2018...

    On July of 2013, the Pentagon instructed congress the ban to not allow women to serve in combat rolls would be lifted. This ban was a congressional act initiated in 1948. In 2016 women will be allowed to have the opportunity and serve in all combat military roles without lowering physical standards. (This is the key-without lowering the standards)

    In recent USMA has been scrutinized for having 15 to 16% women in class enrollment.
    Air Force and Navy has been averaging 20 to 21% during the same time frame. Not that the Army was falling behind in modernizing our forces, it was limited.

    USMA Class of 2017 is the first class to have started after allowing women in combat with a total of 188 women out of 1193. It was announced over this past weekend during Plebe Parent Week during a brief, class of 2018 would have 19 to 20% women.

    Now the argument begins: there is a double standard AFPT screening between males and females. There are two women who have enrolled in ranger school. And this year a female Plebe broke a 20-year record for IDOC. Can females pass BUDS/SEALS training or survive Rangers school and the like? Time will only tell. I say give them the opportunity.

    How ever the critics have never sat in a tank for two weeks straight without creature comforts during field training.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     

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