As the world seems to be sliding into in chaos, you'll be glad to know that the U.S. Marines, under orders from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, are taking some positive steps–the Marines have been ordered to make sure that job titles are gender neutral:

"The idea is not to go in there and change the name when 'man' is incorporated as part of the term," an official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Times, referring to iconic titles such as "infantryman," "rifleman" or "midshipman."

"… But when the word 'man' appears as a separate word … they want that name to be changed," the official said.

The memo on gender neutral occupational descriptions was sent on the heels of a Mabus order to the Commandant of the Marines, General Robert Neller, requiring a plan to make boot camp gender neutral. The plan is due January 15 and implementation is scheduled for April.

The Marines have resisted the move and point to a study that shows that mixed groups are not as combat ready as all male units:

The Marine Corps was the only service to request that some combat job fields remained closed to women, citing data from an internal experiment that showed that mixed-gender groups of Marines performed combat tasks more slowly and even shot less accurately than all-male groups.

Mabus made clear he wouldn't countenance the Marines' objections to women serving in combat and publicly criticized the Corps' study, saying negative attitudes towards women on the part of those overseeing the research had served to "almost [presuppose] the outcome."

To date, the Marines have strongly defended their choice to keep enlisted boot camp segregated by gender, even though all the other services conduct coed recruit training.

In August, Marine officials told this reporter that dividing boot camp by gender allowed recruits to learn from same-sex role models, limited distractions, and created a safe space to discuss topics such as sexual assaults that had occurred prior to enlistment.

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Notably, the issue of coed training has been studied before by the Pentagon.

In 1997, the Defense Department assembled a bipartisan panel to examine the implications of gender-integrated enlisted training. At the time, the panel concluded that the coed approach used in Army, Navy and Air Force recruit training resulted in "less discipline, less unit cohesion, and more distraction from the training programs."

Such practical considerations can be brushed aside easily when the prime purpose of the military becomes not protecting us from foreign foes but functioning as an engine of social change.