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Women in Combat

For most of human history, the idea of women in combat has been anathema. There are examples of women who have served in combat roles, with Joan of Arc perhaps being the most famous and successful, but many such cases are anecdotal. By the 20th century, many women were beginning to serve in the military in support roles, such as nurses or clerics. However, with the rise of modern feminism, many have called for expanding military options to allow women in combat. Women in Combat

The United States military provided the same enlistment qualifications for both men and women in 1979, but continued to prohibit women from serving in direct combat roles. This ban was formalized in 1994. On January 24, 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta removed the ban on women in combat, paving the way towards full equality in the U.S. Military branches. Some nations already have no restrictions on women in combat. Israel, for example, declared in 2000 that all military roles were to be open to both men and women. Sweden has allowed women to serve in all areas of its military since 1989.

There are, of course, some concerns about women serving in combat roles. The first is that of physical performance. Women, by biology, are on average, smaller than men with less upper body strength. Other objections include the potential disruption of combat readiness because of romantic relationships. Many others believe that male soldiers cannot psychologically handle seeing a female comrade wounded.

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