I heard a woman, on BBC's World Have Your Say, opine that the fact that Canada has had women in combat positions for years doesn't mean anything, because their military doesn't fight "real wars" like ours does. (No, really, that's a good paraphrase of what she said.)
I just heard the (male) head of a veterans group, on PBS NewsHour, say that women aren't fit for front-line combat positions because a woman can't do a fireman's carry of a 225 lb. man, and she can't carry an infantryman's gear. (He should see some of the iron pumpers at the women's gym I used to go to. I once saw a woman about 5' 3" dead lift 300 pounds.) He admitted that the wars we're fighting these days are guerrilla wars that don't have that kind of front lines, but he's convinced that sometime in the next 50 years, we'll be back in the trenches, just like we were in Korea and WWII.
The only one who's actually mentioned that elephant in the room, menstruation, is the blogger at Angry Black Lady Chronicles, who said,
Prepare for the incoming jokes about women being issued Hello Kitty uniforms and pink guns, while conservatives wax nostalgic for the days when strapping young men didn’t have to serve in a foxhole with women who bleed every month and refuse to die.(I have to read that blog more often.)
Now, personally, I have no idea why any rational woman would want to serve in front-line combat. But I know a lot of women have chosen a military career, and obviously if they can't serve in combat, their promotion options are limited. For them this is the right decision, and about damn time. Ask Sen. Tammy Duckworth, among many others, about women serving in combat.
As for the front lines that we'll "probably have" in the next 50 years: none of us knows what's coming. But as I look at all the wars in the last 300 years, I see that every new war (including Iraq and Afghanistan) has required things of its soldiers that no one had ever believed soldiers would have to deal with. Rifled barrels and accurate fire. Mustard gas, and machine guns. Panzer tanks and blitzkrieg. Urban guerrilla warfare and COIN. And yet the soldiers adapted to the new ways, and coped; and their brains were usually more important than their physical strength. In fact, with the new armed drones, soldiers don't even have to be physically on a battlefield; in which case there is no gender difference.
So, ladies, have at it, and God bless.