Four female military members, all of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan, have filed a lawsuit challenging the ban on women in ground combat.
The women want to change the rule because, they say, it prevents women from advancing through the ranks. The lawsuit claims that 238,000 Armed Forces roles are currently closed to women.
One of the women bringing the suit, Marine Corps Capt. Zoe Bedell, said many women are effectively in ground combat already - it's just not acknowledged in their job titles. Yet another of the women proves Bedell's point. Air National Guard Major Mary Jennings Hegar received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained during ground combat, when she exchanged fire on the ground after her helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in 2009.
Servicemen are killed in combat seven times more often than women, since servicewomen account for 14% of the military but only 2% of the deaths. Around 150 female troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the wars began, according to the NYTimes. That's compared to a total of 6,614 troops of both genders killed in the two wars.