Think of women and take a “gender perspective'” during bombing operations in war zones, combat pilots in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have been told.
The “Gender in Air Operations” doctrine informs pilots what they should do before dropping bombs in war zones to ensure women aren’t placed in danger, according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
One hypothetical example included in the RAAF guide highlights how destroying a bridge, being used by enemy forces, could force local women to walk further to perform basic domestic chores. The doctrine said:
Although destroying this target may provide a military advantage against the enemy, the second order effect may mean that, due to the gendered social roles, women need to travel further afield, on unfamiliar and less secure, well-known or well-lit routes to gather water and firewood.
The program has been designed to encourage a “new way of thinking” in which vulnerable women aren’t at an increased risk of violence or threat, the Telegraph reports.
Veterans and local news commentators are calling the move an exercise in political correctness that will add another layer of concern for pilots fighting in war zones.
.@TroyBramston on RAAF’s new gender guide for fighter pilots:
‘I think it’s utterly bizarre…this sort of guideline just adds that complexity and some kind of moral dilemma for someone who may have their targets set on a strategic site.’
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) April 7, 2019
President of Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans Association NSW/ACT Bruce Relph told Radio 2GB making this information public knowledge actually puts more women in danger.
“The enemies that we potentially face will know what our doctrine is… They’re gonna see that we’ve got this doctrine and of course they’re gonna use it.”
Ex-Australian major general Jim Molan, who is now a member of Parliament in Canberra, weighed in on the issue, telling 2GB combat pilots already consider civilians when choosing targets.
“This is a well-intentioned but appallingly, clumsily written bit of scenario. I suspect it’s been written by people who haven’t had to do it.”