Retired Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano fights “Like a Girl” with new book 
By Antonieta Rico, SWAN

As the #MeToo Movement forces the country to reflect on how it treats women, Kate Germano, former Chief Operating Officer of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), is giving her take on Marine Corps culture with her new book “Fight Like a Girl: The Truth Behind How Female Marines Are Trained,” co-authored with Kelly Kennedy and slated for release April 3, 2018. Germano, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, takes on ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations’ women in the Marines face through the lens of her own experience as the former commander of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island, S.C., the Marine Corps’ segregated, all-female boot camp battalion where women are trained separately from the men to become Marines. It is at boot camp, through segregated, substandard training that the Marines set women up for failure in the Corps, according to Germano.

After being fired from the her position at Parris Island, Germano made headlines, with competing media narratives speculating on why she was fired. However, all the news stories agreed on one fact: that Germano’s adherence to high standards for women resulted in increased scores at the firing range to the same level as men’s, and improvements to their overall performance in general. Germano said her book is an attempt to use her personal experience as a way to shed light on the greater context of the environment women face in the Marines and the military at large.  
“I never wanted the story to be about me, I wanted it to be about the issues,” Germano said.
Germano hopes that by talking about her attempt to hold women to higher standards, and the push back she got from a Marine Corps culture that dismisses the contributions women can make to the military and national security, other women in the military who are going through the same situation won’t feel alone. It is this dismissal of women’s abilities that contributes to a larger culture of disrespect that leads to sexual harassment and assault in the military, she believes. 
The power imbalance women face in the military is a more intense form of what is seen in society at large, Germano said, however she points out that there is a critical difference; the fact that service members are asked to follow their leaders into combat.

“We trust each other with our lives every single day,” Germano said. When that trust is broken, it can have devastating consequences not only personally to Marines, but to the combat effectiveness of the military and to the country’s national security.

Germano said she hopes her book results in a wave of support for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s efforts to reform the military justice system, that military women are able to have a seat at the table, and that the public begins to question why so little women join the military, especially the Marine Corps.
The book title comes from the #LikeAGirl Super Bowl ad, where people are asked what it looks like to “run like a girl” and teen girls enact a simpering performance mocking how girls supposedly run. Germano hopes her book helps move military culture closer to the day when saying someone fights “Like a Girl” will be the ultimate compliment.