Earth & Conservation

Marines Will Receive 'Unconscious Bias' Training as Women Join Combat Units

The Marine Corps will begin rolling out the program in May.

<p>Photo: DVIDSHUB // Flickr</p>

Later this year, U.S. Marines will undergo a new training program, part of which will focus on unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias. The decision comes following last year's historic announcement from the Department of Defense that all military occupations and combat positions will be open to women.

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The mandatory training will first be taught to majors and lieutenant colonels, according to In turn, they will train the subordinates who report to them. The Marine Corps was the only branch of the military that requested some combat units remain closed to women, citing a study about the efficacy of mixed-gender units. That study has been widely criticized since.

Part of the curriculum will address unconscious bias, a term that refers to the deeply ingrained, almost reflexive preferences a person has, but may not even be fully aware of. It can be an issue in all sorts of scenarios -- a major one being the hiring process. Research shows that minority job applicants will "whiten" their resume to come across as more appealing to certain employers. This type of training has gained traction across various industries, particularly in tech, but some critics say it does not go far enough.

Photo: Sgt. Kimberly Nalepka, leader of the Female Engagement Team in Garmsir, Afghanistan