Female friendly?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by hermom, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. hermom

    hermom 5-Year Member

    Oct 31, 2007
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    My daughter has an appointment to Navy and WP. The navy one came through last week. Now she must decide. She has visited WP and will be visiting Navy soon. As parents we are not pushing she one way but making sure she knows everything before she sends in the cards. Her biggest reason for Navy is that it is more female friendly. We do not know academy graduates or career officiers. Our WP local contact was a NROTC grad. She only did the summer session at Navy. Looking at WP and the opportunities after grad, the academy academics and the contacts we had I did like WP. Plus, she did agree WP food was better that Navy at the summer session (she did not eat much there). Is she correct? DO the women have a difficult time at WP?
  2. Exar Ganis

    Exar Ganis 5-Year Member

    Aug 5, 2007
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    I think the most important question is

    Does your daughter want to be an army officer, a naval officer, or a marine corps officer.

  3. mom3boys

    mom3boys 10-Year Member

    Nov 3, 2007
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    I cannot speak of whether the girls have an "easier" time...you might want to read Absolutely American and watch the National Geographic series Surviving West Point...the girls in both seemed to do just fine!

    My son had appointments to both. Ultimately, the decision was made based on career/service options after graduation. He knew himself well enough to know he did not want to live on a ship for extended periods of time. Best of luck to your daughter....it's a hard decision, but one she is lucky to be faced with.
  4. bruno

    bruno 10-Year Member Retired Staff Member

    Feb 2, 2008
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    This is a good question- Based on my experience with the Army (20 years) and my wife's (28 years)-I don't think that women necessarily have a "harder" time in either branch of service but I think that the Navy is more likely to have a woman rise to the top of it than the Army- simply because the proportion of jobs restricted is much higher in the Army than the Navy. Women don't serve in the infantry, Special Forces or Armor branches- which are the principal war fighting branches of the Army so that could be a frustration if you want to be at the very heart of the organization. That's not to say that you can't go very high indeed in the Army as a woman- but you can't do it in those branches. My wife has often commented that for a woman, the most "friendly" organizations from a career standpoint are the Coast Guard and the Air Force- neither of which have any restrictions on billets that they can fill. I think that with the exception of submarines- the Navy would now fall into the same category. In terms of personal respect and professionalism- I think that any of the academies will provide an equal challenge and opportunity -male or female. So if she wants almost unlimited potential - I guess I would say the Navy offers that more than the Army. will that change in her career? Need a crystal ball to answer that !

  5. wpmom2011

    wpmom2011 5-Year Member

    Mar 30, 2007
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    My dd is a plebe this year, so I can't yet speak about opportunities after WP, but I can pass on a few of the things that she's told me about WP.

    Your question asks, "DO the women have a difficult time at WP?"

    My answer is yes, but so do the guys. West Point is a rigorous program that challenges these young people continually. That's what it's meant to do, and it does. Some cadets are better in athletics, while others are better in academics. So, a cadet will most likely have a difficult time in some area, some time over the 4 years.

    I'll break things down a little more. Academically, there is very little difference. The difference is determined by the major the cadet chooses, not by gender. There are a few differences in PE classes; the men take boxing, while the girls take combatives.

    Athletically, all the cadets are required to participate in athletics. For the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) the women do have different standards than the men, based on the differences in body type/structure.

    Keeping in mind that West Point is approx. 15% female, it may seem like the women may have problems dealing with the men or be discriminated against. My daughter has not told me of any issues that she's had. She has 2 older brothers, and has been involved in male-dominated clubs/sports in middle and high school, so West Point's environment has not been much of an adjustment for her. During the Plebe review/parade for PPW, I saw a prominent presence of females in the upper positions within the regiments. Whether it was more than 15%, I don't know.

    Last Aug., during Reorgy Week when we could IM, I asked how the guys were treating her. She said that they've been great. That if it wasn't for a few of them, she wouldn't have been able to get through all her Rucks; they were a huge help. One rainy cool morning during Beast, all the new cadets were wet and cold, but she and another girl in their squad were visibly shivering, and my d's hands were going numb. Her squad formed a huddle for warmth, and put her and another female new cadet in the middle because they were the coldest and bluest (her words).

    I met one of the young men from her Beast squad during A-Day weekend, and another one during PPW. Wonderful young men. My impression is that if the girls don't expect special treatment, and they are working their butts off, then the guys will help them. Some of the guys do look after the girls better than others, though. Beast is a very equalizing experience. They, both males and females, are all helping each other get through.

    The one thing she has mentioned is that there are a few girls that are boy crazy and that works against them. She says it's easy to get a bad reputation, and the guys don't respect them much then.

    When I was there in Oct. for PPW, she said she loves it and she belongs there. I don't think she'd say that if she was surrounded by male chauvinism. That always pissed her off in high school. But she also knows how to get along and be comfortable with boys.

    If your daughter is willing to work hard and not whine or quit, then she should be fine at WP and the sky is the limit for her. I would suggest that she get involved in the clubs/sports they offer. The clubs are a way for the plebes to fraternize in an acceptable forum with the upperclassmen. My d joined the rugby team, and I think it helped her work off/run off some of the stress from everything else while being a part of a very close-knit group that provides a lot of support.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask or PM me.
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006 10-Year Member

    Nov 25, 2007
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    "The one thing she has mentioned is that there are a few girls that are boy crazy and that works against them. She says it's easy to get a bad reputation, and the guys don't respect them much then."

    From the male side of the whole academy experience...this statement is very true. To take it one step further, for females who get that reputation, they are also not making it any easier for the females around them. People are able to generalize...and that can be damaging. One person makes a mistake, and that mistake can affect people long after they're gone.

    I had some great female friends at my school, and I saw them as equals, plain and simple. I wouldn't think West Point would be much different.
  7. momoftwins

    momoftwins 10-Year Member Founding Member

    Jun 11, 2006
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    I can ditto most of what wpmom has said. I'll add a few impressions, purely anecdotal.

    I think the "girl stuff" that any mother of a daughter is familiar with will occur anywhere - civilian college or service academy. However, I see/hear so much less of it from my daughter at WP. She has made great friends, both male and female. Will there be jerks? Yes, both genders and at both USNA and USMA as well as at any civilian college.

    I don't think either academy is 'more' female-friendly. Both will provide an outstanding education and leadership opportunities. She will make her friends and select the career direction she wants. So, in my mind, it's a moot question. The real question is: What opportunities does your daughter want?

    I'll have to agree with EG. She needs to think about what she really wants to do after graduation. Is it too early to decide? She may know she wants a military career, but just not the specifics. Then it's time to talk to as many people as possible including:
    Current cadets and mids.
    Alumni from both academies.

    Then after all the analysis is done, she can select West Point. :smile:

    Best of luck and I can't wait to hear what she decides. Either way she'll be in for a terrific experience.