Junior ROTC programs begin to see more female enrollment

When you think of the military, columns of men in uniform usually come to mind. But in high schools across the country, young women are filling up the ranks of Junior ROTC detachments.

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LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – The Junior ROTC Program is one of the nation’s largest high school programs to promote character and leadership.

More and more young women are participating in it.

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According to the U.S. Army JRTOC, female cadets make up 40% of the enrollment.

In high schools across the country, it seems that more women are joining the ranks.

When you think of the military, columns of men in uniform usually come to mind. But in high schools across the country, young women are filling up the ranks of Junior ROTC detachments.

“It’s a good program, it teaches you good leadership, responsibility, and you can take charge,” sophomore Destinee Flowers.

Flowers joined Columbus High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC Program last year. Now, she serves as a Cadet Commander.

“I teach them how to march, and how to be responsible so they can become leaders,” said Flowers.

There are 120 cadets in her class, 72 of them are girls.

Columbus High School JROTC Instructor Michael Goolsby said just in the last year his class has doubled in size.

“Females tend to do very well in our program. We are a very diverse organization so there are no restrictions whatsoever,” said Goolsby.

And they are just as involved in activities like drill, color guard, and physical fitness.

West Lowndes JROTC Instructor April Ellis has seen the same pattern in her squadron.

“We’ve seen this trend over the last 12 years, where we see a higher female participation. I think we are kind of breaking through that stereotype with thinking a male is associated with those military type programs,” said Ellis.

Ellis said girls make up 60% of her cadets.

“As they progress through high school, you tend to see the girls start to step up, take more participation and the guys tend to go more towards the sports,” said Ellis.

“You can have a great career, you get paid $2,000 more in the Air Force or Army or whatever you decide to join,” said Flowers.