So far not a single woman has joined the infantry in the regular army; and just two women have signed up for the infantry in the Army Reserve. The numbers are slightly higher for the artillery and engineering: 15 have signed up for these roles in the regular army.
That's despite a lot of advertising promoting women in the armed services.
The changes to the army are not being made because many thousands of women are having their dreams shattered by not being able to charge out of foxholes. It's clear that at the moment there is hardly any female interest at all in combat roles.
One of the consequences for the average woman in all this is that if it becomes accepted that women are suitable for combat roles, then the next time there is conscription it will be difficult to avoid the call for women to be conscripted alongside men.
I read an opinion piece discussing this issue recently. The author, a feminist woman named Sara Erkel, believes that women should be able to choose to sign up for combat roles but should not be drafted.
She has the following arguments:
- women are less physically strong than men so that a country not drafting women would have a battlefield advantage over the country that did
- women prisoners of war would risk sexual assault
- women are needed to have babies
- women don't earn as much as men and therefore shouldn't be required to make the same sacrifices for their country
As for the last argument, if military service is tied to income and job status, that would mean that feminist professors ought to be drafted well ahead of male janitors.
Anyway, once the idea takes hold that there are no principled reasons why women should not serve in combat, then it's likely that none of the specific arguments made by Sara Erkel will hold ground.