"The female of the species is more deadly than the male."
The women of the IDF talk the talk, and they walk the walk.
Women were allowed to become fighter pilots in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) after a landmark court ruling in 1995. In the year 2000, Israel's military service law was amended to allow women to serve in any capacity that male soldiers serve, including combat units. Israeli women serve in the infantry or mechanized units, or any other combat occupation. They make up a third of the IDF, and are treated as equals with males.
The United States military started allowing women to serve in direct combat support units, such as Military Police, in the late 80's. During Operation Just Cause - the Panama invasion - a female MP platoon leader was decorated for valor in combat.
According to current Department of Defense policy, women are not allowed to serve in ground combat units at the battalion level and below. But because of the highly mobile nature of modern warfare, there are no "front lines" one imagines in classic war scenarios.
Special operations units and irregular forces traditionally operate far behind enemy lines, choosing when & where they engage enemy forces, and their targets are quite often support & logistical units. During the initial stages of the Iraq War, our supply convoys experienced close ambushes and we took the heavy casualties - including women in non-combat MOS's.
Women are now integrated into almost every military role - only combat arms units remain the exclusive domain of men only. The Navy has women serving on all ships, and the Air Force has female pilots flying everything from C-130s to F-16s.
Army Sergeant Catherine Ross pulling security in a Stryker, Mosul, 2004.
The New York Times story 'WOMEN'S WORK' by Catherine Ross vividly demonstrates how the military’s policy on barring women from combat doesn’t match reality.
I know I'm going to take a lot of flak from my SF compadres over the sentiments expressed in this post. Here's what I've got to say to that: there are a lot of women I'd take on my team over some of the miserable excuses for soldiers I had to tolerate during my time in - especially toward the end when the X Box Generation started showing up.