Though woman aren’t restricted from combat roles, in practice women have yet to fight in rebel territory, according to EFE.
The Bolivian military first opened its doors to women in 1979, without combat restrictions, according to EFE.
Brazil Women officers can fight in combat, but not on the front lines, EFE reports.
Women first joined the Chilean military during the Pinochet dictatorship in the 1980s.
There’s no restriction on combat roles for women here, where women patrol the rebel-infested border with Colombia, EFE reports.
There’s no restriction on women in combat roles in Paraguay, but also currently no women serving in those roles, according to EFE.
Women can occupy any role in the Uruguayan military and currently serve as U.N. peacekeepers, according to EFE.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made history this week when he removed the restriction on women fighting in combat in American wars.
Many countries in Latin America, however, took that step years ago, Spanish news wire EFE reports. Despite the region’s reputation for “machismo,” a uniquely Latin form of sexism, women are permitted to fight alongside men in seven countries, though it rarely happens in practice.
Latin American countries don’t fight nearly as many wars as the United States. Peru and Ecuador fought the last inter-state war in Latin America over a territorial dispute back in 1995.
The United States, by contrast, has fought wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and bombing campaigns in Yemen and Pakistan -- all during the Obama administration alone.
Historically, Latin American militaries have seen more activity within their own borders than outside them. Today, Colombia continues to fight a half-century-old guerrilla insurgency, while in Mexico the military is locked in a fierce fight with drug cartels that has left more than 60,000 people dead since 2006.
Check out the seven Latin American countries that allow women in combat in the slideshow above.