Great article here about women serving side by side with men in Iraq: (Thanks to C.A. for the reference)
This report will come as no surprise to anyone who has been there. Our hospital in Balad was one team, it didn't matter if the troop was male or female. We surgeons might have been a loud brash bunch, but it wasn't the usual gender stereotypes: Our team included women surgeons and male nurses. All pulled together.
The article talks about about sex in theater and pregnancy. We did see this, but it was a surprisingly small number of women who had to leave unexpectedly over the course of the deployment. I agree with the article that it is inevitable when young people are together. It is more upsetting when senior, (supposedly) mature officers fail to obey the no sex in theater rule. After all, the young troops have to get the right example from us.
Assault was a danger, and did occur rarely on our base. I think that the population of contractors was more of a threat, but since that small risk did exist, it was wisest when women walked in pairs or groups after dark. Most did, and most carried weapons (and they knew how to use them).
The point is clear that ANYONE who has a desire to serve our country is a valuable resource and deserves the chance.
Make sure you read the article to the end if you have never heard of a urinary director.