There has been some progress made in building a more gender-inclusive Marine Corps. In 2019, there was a 60% increase in women in previously all-male Marine Corps combat units. And the process has begun to bring the Corps up-to-speed with the rest of the services in terms of having a fully gender-integrated basic training
(mandated by Congress in the 2020 NDAA).
But there’s been only a 4% increase in females overall in the Corps in the past decade. In the top ranks, women represent only 10% of Marines. And women and minorities are also more likely to leave the service earlier than their white male peers.
Gen. Berger said, “We’re much more powerful when we have different people looking at the same issue from different perspectives.”
Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost knows a lot about the challenges that women and minorities have faced in being accepted and fully integrated into the forces. When she graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1988, women weren’t allowed to fly in combat and that didn’t change until 1993.
In the time since, her service has ranged from test pilot to vice director to the Joint Staff. Now the only female four-star at the Pentagon, she’s the fifth in Air Force history. Ovost says, “When people think about [a problem] in different ways, you want a bunch of diverse people around the table contributing to that solution.”
As for being highly relatable? She talks about imposter syndrome and more here