The argument has traditionally been that women can not serve in direct such as the infantry and artillery gunners to name but two. It appears though that Australia is considering ditching those gender-based restrictions in favor of physical assessments.
The Australian Defence Forces remain predominately a male domain. Nevertheless, women make up a touch over 13% of the total number of personnel.
It will be quite an achievement if the ADF can remove gender-based barriers on women serving in direct combat roles and replace them with a set of physical characteristics that do not automatically exclude women. The current Minister of Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon, seems to be in favor of the idea.
I am not sure that it has the GI Jane / Demi Moore thing happening here but I have always thought that the primary consideration in putting women into combat must be can they do the job that is being asked of them.
I am sure there are those out there that see only disaster in having men and women serving in the same direct combat units. However, if the ADF is truly a professional force then men and women serving in the same combat unit should not be a problem.
The decision on whether women will serve in direct combat will ultimately depend on the results of the Defence Science Technology Organization (DSTO) and their report. I hope the DSTO makes it possible for women to serve in direct combat roles. Women join the ADF for the same reasons as men, to serve their country, and women must be allowed to serve in all the same ways that men are permitted to do.