Armed Hostilities

Women in Combat: History Examples

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Women in Combat: History Examples
  3. Women in Combat in the 20th Century
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works cited


Women are always considered as gentle and fragile creatures who call for protection and proper treat. On the other hand, it appears that some of them are able to handle fighting in combat. This essay will provide answers to several key questions. Should women be ever included in such a thing as combat? How do they act when meeting their enemies face to face? Is it wrong to let women be involved in combats only because they are women? There are numerous examples of female soldiers who can handle their duties sometimes better than men can. In other words, if a woman opts for such a kind of challenge, it means that she is more than capable to deal with it.

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The question “who should perform the military service?” arises while investigating the topic. One would say US women have been provided with more rights that were previously considered restricted. However, the struggle to let women have everything that is offered to men led to equality when it comes to combats as well. More females have an opportunity to apply for positions in combat arms as well as serve in military support positions.

They include intelligence, marine, and air forces. Some people do believe it is high time for women to perform their duties in armor, artillery, and other fields related to combat. The question is whether they are able to meet necessary physical standards and requirements to avoid troublemaking and emotional disbalance. History proves that sometimes women in combat may lead to a total unit morale decline. At the same time, one would hardly argue that barring them from military positions in case they have the capacity to show great results and express their potential.

Women in Combat: History Examples

A tradition of women in combat broke down during the times of military actions. WWII is full of examples where females were able to assume dramatic roles they could never imagine during their peaceful life. The war always comes with a pressing need for human resources. WWII came with many jobs varying from nurses to soldiers on the front line. Official reports and registers show that thousands of American women were eager to serve in the army. Some of them got a chance to fly military planes and air crafts while the Soviet Union put its females in combat roles due to a crucial lack of male fighters. However, as soon as the war is over, old laws and obligations come back to force.

In 1984, The Congress of the United States mandated that only 2% of all military forces should be represented by women. However, the situation has changed drastically from that time. Women’s military role has increased up to 15% making their military role more contributing and defining ever since. Leon Panetta announced the end of such an approach. The announcement barred females from positions in armed forces after the expansion was observed.

On the other hand, the world has many examples showing Canada and Israel where women have full access to a military scene as well as some European countries. When revising the idea of gender equality, some Communist countries have also spread the ideology and propaganda of women in combat. It should also be noted that the rules of modern warfare have been changed. There are no front lines and direct combats letting women make their contribution in the field of military developments, technology, and support.

Women in Combat in the 20th Century

“The examination of the legal definition of combat shows how the status of women is affected by policy” (Skaine 1). Two world wars appeared to be a severe challenge for many countries. Though many of them used laws and obligations to restrict women in combat, the constant demand for troops forced the government to ease some of its regulations. Women’s Battalion was created in Russia during WWI. The idea was to attract as many capable volunteers as possible to use against German troops. World War II was not an exception. Many Soviet women served as nurses, snipers, soldiers, and intelligence representatives.

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Other countries recruited thousands of females to handle anti-craft cannons and guns. The situation was changed in 2013. However, a dozen countries are still allowed to take part in combats and military actions. They include Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and many more. Needless to say, all the above-mentioned nations establish different approaches when it comes to combat roles for women. The system of females’ integration with the armed forces is developing. Some countries allow women to serve alongside men like in Israel. Military service is becoming universal and diverse. It leads to the fact women have a larger portion of the military service taking nearly all available positions for candidates of all sexes.

“Women currently constitute about 13 percent of the United States military” (Herbert 3). Moreover, some countries let females operate in various new fields as well as submarines. This position has always been considered as man-only by many countries. The integration process has also been launched in the United States. The only thing left is to see the approach it will take.


There are many myths including “the accusation that the aggressor is killing women and children” (Fenner 6). In 2013, Leon Panetta made the announcement that has shaped the approach of women in combat. Briefly, the Pentagon has lifted a prohibition on females in combat. This announcement overturned the law established in 1994. It restricted women from such fields as the armory, Special Forces, infantry, and other combat roles. On the other hand, 200 000 women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan should also be taken into account. The statistic of those two wars is rather desperate depicting over 130 women killed and 800 wounded.

One would hardly find a law that will strictly bar a woman from combat roles. At the same time, the US military policy is becoming more versatile and keeps women who serve in the army away from direct combat actions and front lines. However, one would hardly ignore numerous examples of the most courageous and bold actions performed by women in two wars before 2001. Many of them serve rather skillfully even under open fire.

The decision to lift up the ban also comes as a source of numerous job positions. It does not mean that all-male military positions will be opened immediately. The assessment phase is necessary to implement the most efficient system. This phase will help to pay attention to the most requires but still non-integrated fields and units. The services will make their final decision by January 2016. When looking back at those colorful legends and stories about Amazons, it is clear, that women in combat can make a vital contribution for the sake of the country.

Works cited

Fenner, Lorry. Women in Combat: Civic Duty Or Military Liability?. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. 2001. Print.

Herbert, Melissa. Camouflage Isn’t Only for Combat: Gender, Sexuality, and Women in the Military. New York, NY; New York University Press. 1998. Print.

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Skaine, Rosemarie. Women in Combat: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC. 2011. Print.

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