WOMEN IN THE MILITARY WORLD WIDE AND BY COUNTRY
Even though women serving in the military has often been controversial, a very small number of women in history have fought alongside men. In the American Civil War, there were a few women who cross-dressed as men in order to fight.
Fighting on the battlefront in disguise was not the only way women involved themselves in war. Some also served as nurses and aides.For over 3,000 years in a large number of cultures and nations, women have played many roles in the military, from ancient warrior women, to the women currently serving in conflicts, although the vast majority of all combatants in every culture have been men.
Despite various, though limited, roles in the armies of past societies, the role of women in the military, particularly in combat, is controversial and it is only recently that women have begun to be given a more prominent role in contemporary armed forces. As increasing numbers of countries begin to expand the role of women in their militaries, the debate continues.
More recently, from the beginning of the 1970s, most Western armies have begun to admit women to serve active duty in all of military branches.
Women continue to have a crucial role in current operations and their selfless sacrifices continue to break through gender barriers. "Valor knows no gender," President Barack Obama stated in a statement on lifting the ban on women in combat. In 2013, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta signed a document to lift the Defense Department's ban on women in direct ground combat roles. This historical decision overturned a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry, and other combat roles and military occupational specialties.
The Army continues to open more positions, approximately 33,000 positions in units that were previously closed off to women, With the close of World War I, many turned away from all things war-related and by 1935 the Nurse Corps' numbers had reduced to 332. However, this reduction did not stop the corps from making advances; new courses of study in the areas of diet therapy, neuropsychiatry, physiotherapy, and anesthesia were introduced and it was these educational advances which were key to the steady rise in the corps' professional status within the service. Though generally treated as officers socially and professionally, and wearing uniform stripes similar to those for the officer ranks of Ensign through Lieutenant Commander, formal recognition asCommissioned officers, achieved by U.S. Army nurses in 1920, did not come until World War II.