Consider the female who served as a member of the Quick Reactionary Force (QRF). They are the ones who go outside the wire daily, meet with locals, approach abandoned cars to investigate, etc. While many male counterparts are safe on the FOB/COB (the base) these women risk getting in a firefight on a continual basis. However, because they are in a non-combat MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) they may not receive medals available only for combat specialties, which can limit military promotion.
Another issue is that within the military community, with many, if you are not a scout or an infantryman then you have no reason to suffer from symptoms of PTSD. This invalidates many who suffer from PTSD and that Unvalidated Pain can lead to severe depression, feelings of worthlessness, and suicide.
While it's nice to see the Pentagon finally catching up with reality, it would have been nice if it had been done back in 1991, when women began truly being thrust onto the front lines during Desert Storm, or at least by 2003, after so many had already been blown up by IDE's, died in firefights, etc. in Afghanistan before the same started in Iraq.
Combat? Reaction Of Many Women In Military Is 'Been There, Done That' : NPR
While Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is set to make a historic announcement today, the reality is