REBEL GIRLS: Women In Combat


Women in combat had many faces during the Irish "troubles". Women and girls moved munitions, hid fugitives, and provided security for Republican neighborhoods.

Women in combat had many faces during the Irish “troubles”. Women and girls moved munitions, hid fugitives, and provided security for Republican neighborhoods, often frisking suspected loyalists at gunpoint.

REBEL GIRLS: Women in Combat 

By T.K. McNeil

Unfair Exclusion

Women are being integrated at all levels of the United States military including combat

Women are being integrated into all levels of the United States military including combat roles.


Women in combat comes across like a complex issue. Particularly in the United States with its military culture. As demonstrated by the fact that it had compulsory service longer than most other comparable Western democracies. Not stopping it entirely until 1973. There is still a Selective Service System that requires all male born US citizens to register for potential conscription by their 18th birthday. Which has raised questions as to whether the draft should be brought back and force women as well as men to serve. Raising and rehashing questions as to whether women are physically and mentally capable of combat.

Not An Enemy In the World

Women volunteered to serve their country during WWII but were banned from combat, and worked in ancillary roles

Women served their country during WWII. They were however banned from combat, so served as secretaries, nurses and supply techs.

Generally speaking, bringing the draft back to America is unnecessary. America already has one of he largest military’s in the world and no viable enemies in terms of conventional warfare. Are there rogue states who could launch a nuclear weapon? Possibly but direct invasion by land, sea or air is essentially impossible. And almost always has been. The United States has not been directly attacked by an official government actor since WWII. And even that was not the mainland United States, in fact at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, Hawaii was not even a state. There has not been a direct attack on the mainland United States by an official, national military since 1814, when James Madison spectacularly failed to annex British-Canada. The Brits fought back, driving American troops back across the border. The Brits followed the retreating Americans and attacked Washington, D.C., burning down the White House. Before being pushed back themselves, ending the war in a stalemate.

For Home and Family

Men in the U.S. military outnumber women 100:1

Men outnumber women 100:1 in U.S. military

As to the question of women in combat, particularly as to whether women are physically or psychologically capable of fighting, just look at history. Not only can women fight, they have been. Quite effectively and for over a century. The main difference being that women are more likely to fight in situations of direct existential threat, to themselves, their loved ones or their autonomy. Which could partly explain why in the ostensibly all-volunteer United States military, which has not been used for national defense since the 19th century, men outnumber women 100 to 1.

Fight For Your Life

Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahou talks to female combat soldiers

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahou talks to female combat soldiers during inspection tour

An example of women in combat for existential preservation in the current context is that of Israel. One of the few nations in the world with universal conscription. 92 percent of combat roles are open to women, 70 percent being actively filled by females. The only limits to service are that one must be an Israeli citizen over the age of 18. Israel also has one of the lowest rates of deferment requests overall. Between 1962 and 2016 535 female soldiers have officially been killed in combat. The heaviest losses came during the Six Day War in 1967.


German soldiers hold captive female Polish Resistance fighters

German soldiers hold captive female Polish Resistance fighters at gun point during search

Historically, women have been in combat, serving in both official and non-official roles, during some of the world’s worst  conflicts, including World War II. This was particularly true during the Jewish ghetto uprising in Warsaw, Poland in April and May 1943. Women and girls running espionage, shooting soldiers and fire-bombing armored vehicles side-by-side with men and boys. Many of the women and girls, some as young as 13, taking up arms against the occupying forces, were the same who had been routinely sexually exploited and violated by Nazi forces.

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Night Witches Regiment 588 by SABATON

The Night Witches were the all female 588th Night Bomber Regiment of the Soviet Air Force. Active during WWII, the regiment would fly daring night missions in old wood and canvas training planes left over from WWI. The sound of the planes swooping out of the sky to deliver their deadly payload sounding like a witch swooping down on her broomstick. A German commander reportedly said, “We simply couldn’t grasp that the Soviet airmen that caused us the greatest trouble were in fact women. To find out more about women in combat read T.K. McNeil’s fascinating article on women in combat, “Rebel Girls” coming soon to Thanks, Darlene