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13 Countries That Already Allow Women In Combat

The United States is not the first to open combat roles to women. Over a dozen other countries have allowed it for years.

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Canada's progressive military started allowing women into all military roles, including combat roles like fighter pilot, in 1987. As of 2006, over 200 women were part of the regular combat force and over 900 were part of the reserve combat force.


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Poland allows women in close combat, but as of 2008, there were only 1153 female soldiers in the entire Polish Army. There are a few female Platoon commanders, and at least one woman serving in a combat unit.

Poland only started accepting women into its military academies in 1999, and those women didn't graduate until 2003, so female service members have only been part of the military in Poland for about a decade.


Tobias Schwarz / Reuters

The German military has allowed women in all military roles since 2001, spurred partially by female engineer's official complaint about the matter in 1996. In the five years following, female military enrollment tripled, as a military career became a more attractive option for women. As of 2006, about 800 women were serving in combat roles.

The Netherlands

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The Dutch military technically lifted all restrictions on women serving in combat roles in 1979, but women still don't serve in the Marines or Submarine Service. In the Navy, 33% of female soldiers are in combat roles, but in the army, it's only 13%.

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