Female Soldier Decorated for Feminism?

Female Soldier Decorated for Feminism?

Female Soldier Decorated for Feminism?

Staff Sargent Kate Lord, has received the prestigious Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service for challenging “highly misogynistic” views of young men in the Afghan National Army, who accused her of being weak and were shocked that her husband would allow her to go to Afghanistan.

Upon receiving her award Kate was praised for helping to tackle the country’s “deeply conservative culture”.  As she challenged the young male instructors’ opinions of females whilst mentoring them at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul, by proving her physical prowess and winning their admiration. Her award citation states that “nobody in this mission – male or female- has done more to further the standing of women in the Afghan National Army”.

Originally Kate was sent out to mentor women in the Afghan National Army, however, was thrown into the deep end when the there was a delay in the recruitment of women. When she first met her three male mentees, they had a very strange reaction to her. They started asking her very personal questions such as whether or not she was married. They were also very shocked to find that her husband had allowed her to go to Afghanistan with lots of men. Then the men started getting into the physical aspect of the job at hand, as the men believed Kate to be weak. This was due to her small physique; therefore Kate had the challenge of changing their opinion and proving them wrong.

She worked to develop close personal and professional relationships with the men and to convince them that women were as able as men. Kates states that she saw a definite change in mindset among both men and women during the nine months she was there.  Kate has been commended for her “infectious enthusiasm”, which helped her to overcome prejudice.  

Not to only this but Kate also developed a female physical training facility at the Academy.  She researched the Asian female body data and scrutinised training regimes as regional academies and collected data from the females on her course. By using this information she designed tests for female recruit selection and wrote the female physical training syllabus.

This shows us a few things, firstly that there is still a long way to go in some cultures to change the attitudes that are held of women and their place in society. Secondly, this shows that one person can make a difference in the world as what Kate has taught her mentees will be passed down and soon, hopefully, attitudes will change. Finally this tells us that the British Forces are fully committed to support women in these roles and will recognise and validate the changes that are made through these women across the globe.

Whether I would say Kate was given this award for feminism depends on your definition on the word as, unfortunately, it has received a lot of negative connotations which again is very slowly changing. Personally feminism means the political, economic and cultural equality for women therefore yes, Kate did receive her award for promoting the feminist cause.   


Nina is in her Honours year at The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow studying History. She loves keeping fit and healthy at the gym and singing to her hearts content. Because of Nina's love of all things history related, she has a passion for reading, writing and researching. Nina is the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine for female students at Strathclyde called Her Campus Strath and wants to continue her passion for writing after graduation. 


She Runs the Show!

She Runs the Show!

Why The “No More” Campaign Is So Important

Why The “No More” Campaign Is So Important

0