On May 1-2, WIIS Global hosted a symposium on "Women in Combat Units: Experiences of Partner Nations." The event was sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Tim Kaine, and Representative Loretta Sanchez.

The purpose of the conference was to bring together a large community of practice in a single event to share the expertise of partner nations who have already fully integrated their militaries. As the US moves forward with full integration, the services have consulted with some partner nations on an individual basis.

On January 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense announced its decision to eliminate the ground combat exclusion policy and begin the process of opening 238,000 direct ground combat positions to women. With this historic development, the U.S. joins a small but growing list of countries in which all military positions are open to women on an equal basis to men. Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and Sweden all permit women in all combat units. France, Israel, and the Netherlands permit women in combat positions but they are barred from some units. Brazil is currently looking at how to include women in combat positions, and Australia is already phasing women in. Many other countries including the UK send women to the front line in non-combat roles, or permit women to be fighter pilots.

Click here for the event agenda.