An Army mentoring class at Fort Stewart, Ga., aimed at helping women deal with isolation is stirring up criticisms that the program among female soldiers that it’s too focused on domestic matters and not enough on military concerns.
And its slogan isn’t any help:
“Divas in Boots.”
According to the Army Times, the gripes are growing.
“Talking about sports bras, make-up brushes and couponing is a conversation that needs to be left outside of work, with a battle buddy or someone,” one female solder commented on the decidedly unofficial Facebook page U.S. Army W.T.F! Moments. “If we’re going to have classes like these then make them more specific to the regulations and standards that we have to uphold.”
It sounded like “group therapy,” she wrote.
One participant in the Jan. 10 launch of the “Divas in Boots” program told the Army Times it seemed aimed in the wrong direction.
“It was for housewives, not soldiers — and not all of us are married,” the woman, a 21-year-old specialist, told the newspaper. “I would have liked more about universities or [the scholarship program] Green to Gold.”
However, another participant, Capt. Katie Martinez, a medical company commander, said the speakers — all high-ranking women — discussed their careers with their younger female counterparts.
“I left very inspired,” she told the paper.
Col. Dianne Pannes told the Army Times almost all of the responses she had received from participants had been positive and said the classes – even the coupon-clipping classes – were important.
The Army, like all the military service, is still overwhelmingly male, but female mentoring programs are increasing, the Army Times reported.
In addition to Fort Stewart, they have been at Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Shafter, Hawaii; Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., and Fort Bragg, N.C., the Army Times reported.
Commenting on the Army Times article on the WTF! Moments page, one female wrote:
“If you are going to have a mentorship program geared towards females Soldiers – don’t make it demeaning by calling it “Divas in Boots” and giving couponing classes and how to pick a Sports Bra. How about talking Career Progression – how about talking about Schooling?? Leave that other crap for the Ladies Magazines and Tupperware party conversation.”