Women aren't supposed to serve in military units whose primary focus is ground combat, but that doesn't mean they don't fight. And the prohibitions against combat may actually be bad for female soldiers.
Dept. of Defense spokeswoman Eileen Lainez tells ABC,
The nature of today's conflicts is evolving; there are no front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. While women are not assigned to units below brigade level whose primary mission is direct combat on the ground, this doesn't mean they are not assigned to positions in combat zones that could place them in danger.
Some women argue that rules about combat just prevent women from getting the training they need when, realistically, they will face combat scenarios. It may also keep them from getting promoted. Says retired Air Force Gen. Lester L. Lyles, "Women serving in combat environments are being shot at, killed and maimed. But they're not getting the credit for being in combat arms." Lyles wants to change the policy to reflect what's really happening on the ground. Some might say this would put more women in harm's way — but many are already taking the same risks as men every day. And perhaps it's time for the military to officially acknowledge that.