The percentage of women in military is very low compared to men. Men are still dominating the scenario. Even though new strides have reached by women, there is large scope for improvement in terms of percentages. It is very difficult to engage women in frontlines. The modern warfare has changed. Every solider will go through substantial risk. There are dangerous scud missiles and roadside bombs which are to be tackled by soldiers in a very careful way. However, there were remarkable achievements in the past one decade.
For the first time, American men and women soldiers landed in a foreign land on combat operations in 1990. There were 360 women in the 1260 contingent dispatched to Persian Gulf. The men and women were shipped out together in those wartime conditions. More than 40,000 women soldiers served in Iraq. They were engaged with armed forces and delivered their best. There was a setback for women in 1994 with the prohibition imposed by Defense Secretary Les Aspin. As per the prohibition, women should not be involved in direct ground combat.
In spite of the 1994 setback, women played great role in military service and they contributed a lot along with male soldiers. There are women who received Silver Star. Leigh Ann Hester showed exceptional valor and won Silver Star. Monica Lin Brown shielded wounded soldiers with her body and she ran into gunfire to save other soldiers. She was awarded Silver Star by US Army.
As per 2015 statistics, women make up 15% of the US Army. There are about 165,000 active soldiers. 35,000 additional women are serving as officers. A yearlong review took place in 2012 and Pentagon declared that there will be women who will be attached to battalions on permanent basis. If women are inducted into ground operations, they will be engaged as radio operators, tank mechanics and medics. There were many women who served in those conditions on temporary basis in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the Pentagon’s announcement, these kinds of operations have become official.
However, there are still restrictions over inducting into combat tank units and special operations units. The ban on women was lifted in 2013 with the announcement made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Thus, all gender-based bias is removed through the announcement. There will be gradual change in this direction. Each branch of military has right to include exceptions until 2016.