Since the cap keeping the percentage of women serving in the military at 2% was lifted in the 1970s the female soldiers serving in the U.S. armed services have slowly been allowed to work in almost every area of the military - most recently being allowed, pending congressional approval of course, to serve on nuclear submarines. Women now make up 14% of the military and there are 29,000 currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. So what is the brass ceiling for women in the military? Direct combat. Female soldiers outside of the defined combat zones are currently being killed by the same ambush attacks and I.E.D.s as the male troops they live and serve with – so, how does the official policy preventing women from joining ground units apply in a war that many have said has no traditional front line?
Laura Browder, author of When Janey Comes Marching Home and a professor of American Studies at University of Richmond