What the Military Will—and Still Won't—Let Women Do

Two female rangers have graduated, but there are plenty of roles that still require a Y chromosome.

This past Friday, two female Army rangers graduated from Ranger School, making them the first women ever to achieve the feat.

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The Army opened its legendary Ranger School to women on an experimental basis this year, and 19 women took on the physically demanding course that had previously been off-limits to them, the U.S. Army said.

But despite achieving the same honor as their male comrades, First Lieutenant Shaye Haver, 25, and Captain Kristen Griest, 26, actually aren’t eligible to apply to join the Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force. Why? It’s currently off-limits to women

The new graduates say they were treated the same as the men during training. “We felt like we were contributing as much as the men, and we felt that they felt that way, too,” Griest told CNN. Want to see if you have what it takes to hack it in the military? Test your strength with our Navy Seal workout:

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Currently, the U.S. Army says that 78 percent of its positions are open to women. However, the Pentagon is now weighing decisions about exactly what combat roles women will be allowed to fill (it’s expected to make a decision later this year).

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Here’s a roundup of what women are permitted to do in the miliary right now.

They’re Allowed To:

Take the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course
The Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course was opened to women in 2012 as part of the Pentagon’s effort to assess how it can better integrate women into more jobs. None of the 29 women who volunteered for the 13-week course passed, the Marine Corps Times reports. (About 25 percent of men who take the course graduate.)

However, Marines also opened infantry training for enlisted troops to women, who performed better than those who volunteered for the course. As of February, 34 percent of female enlisted troops who took the course passed.

Serve As Special Operations ‘Cultural Support Teams’
The Army Special Operations Command has created cultural support teams, which are groups of women who accompany special operations teams into areas where the interaction between female civilians and male soldiers would be considered inappropriate.

Women Aren’t Allowed to:

Serve On Front-Line Combat Units
Front-line combat units (including infantry, armor, artillery, and special operations) have been off-limits to women, but that may change as of January when the Pentagon plans to erase gender restrictions in the military. That will open up more than 300,000 positions to women unless the individual services are granted exceptions to keeping some roles for men only, USA Today reports.

Serve In the Army’s Ranger Regiment
The Army opened its legendary Ranger School, considered one of the most difficult courses in the military, to women on an experimental basis this April. The two women who graduated from the course are currently not allowed to apply to join the 75th Ranger Regiment. The Army has not explained why women are still forbidden from applying, but the status quo may change as of January 2016.

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Serve As Special Forces Soldiers
Special Forces advanced reconnaissance, target analysis, and exploitation techniques are currently off-limits to women, Army Times reports. These are prestigious positions that require special skills and qualifications, per the Army.

Serve in Special Operations Units
As of now, more than 4,100 enlisted positions in special operations units (prestigious groups of soldiers that are specially organized and trained) for the Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve are for men only—but that is due to change by Sept. 30, Army Times reports.

Serve in Enlisted Positions On Submarines
Women can’t apply to serve in enlisted positions on submarines “due to privacy and living space considerations,” the Navy says on its website (without much further explanation). However, the Navy Times reports that the military branch is now recruiting enlisted women for submarine roles.

Serve As Navy Seals
Even though women aren’t currently allowed to join the prestigious Navy SEALs or Special Warfare Combat Craft (SWCC) units, a top admiral recently told the Navy Times that there is “no reason” why a woman shouldn’t become a SEAL if she can pass the intense six-month Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, which includes brutal tests of physical strength and endurance, including seven days called “hell week” at the three-month mark.

So while a lot of positions are still currently off-limits to women in the military, those restrictions are shrinking. It looks like there are huge changes coming soon—and it’s about time.

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Source: Women’s Health Mag