Being a female in the military is an outstanding achievement and positively sets her apart from her peers. There are, however, a multitude of issues regarding females serving alongside male servicemembers.
Baby wipe showers? You betcha. Female military members serving overseas often have little to no access to warm, cleansing showers and baths like civilians stateside. The solution is baby wipes. While they do not remove all dirt and sand, they do help prevent disease and parasites by cleansing the skin to the best ability while out in the field. What is worse than that is keeping everything okay "down there" when Aunt Flo visits you even when on deployment can be a real struggle - especially if you have no access to the acceptable products.
2. Hair and Makeup
Probably the biggest issue of being in the military as a female is maintaining the correct standards of hair and makeup. While the Army appearance handbook provides guidelines in AR 670-1, females still find it difficult to keep over-the-top hairstyles and makeup out of the military environment. Hair must be of a natural color, must not be shorter than a certain length, and must be kept neat and out of the face. Makeup is another monster. Nail polish any other color than nude or clear is unauthorized and makeup must be light and of natural colors. Basic training drill sergeants are also able to restrict the appearance of the hair, such as prohibiting shaving legs or other body parts and plucking eyebrows.
While this affects active duty servicemembers more than the reservists, pregnancy greatly reduces the abilities of the pregnant female while on duty. Females who are pregnant and on duty are unable to perform certain exercises during physical training hours and are exempt from certain activities in regards to weapons qualifications and fitness tests. The uniforms for pregnant females also changes when the females' stomachs grow too large for the usual duty uniform and a maternity uniform must be purchased to accommodate the stomach.
4. Interactions With Males
Females and males operate in the military under a combined existence. Sexual harassment occurs on both sides. SHARP (Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention) was designed to prevent issues such as this in the Army, but it is imperfect. Male servicemembers will occasionally make remarks that may be deemed sexist or offensive to female servicemembers and vice versa. Such conduct is unacceptable in the military and is grounds for military law issues or even discharge from the military.
5. Workload Concerns
Some females find it difficult to achieve credibility within their units because there is still a view of them being the fairer and weaker sex. While females are capable of performing most duties, some tasks are more difficult for females to accomplish and would, therefore, fall to the males to complete.
Serving in the military as a female is perhaps the ultimate act of feminism. It is both an honor and a privilege to serve in the military regardless of sex. However, this list is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to military policies regarding females. If you are female and interested in joining, contact a recruiter and/or talk to a female servicemember or veteran to obtain more information.