From France's Joan of Arc, to female resistance fighters of World War II and the black-clad women warriors of the Viet Cong, popular history is filled with stories of women fighting alongside men in epic struggles.
In many modern armies, however, ground infantry combat is still largely a male preserve – either by regulation, practical issues such as physical requirements of living space or personal preference in volunteer forces.
But change is afoot. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where supply troops, clerks and military police have ended up in battle regardless of gender, have blurred the distinction between combat and non-combat jobs.
This week the Pentagon lifted the ban on women being assigned to smaller ground combat units, although U.S. service chiefs have until January 2016 to recommend whether some positions should remain closed to women, such as Navy commandos or the Army's Delta Force.
Here are examples of how some other countries have set rules for women in war: