The Marine Corps got its first-ever female infantry officer this week when a lieutenant completed a grueling 13-week course. Compared to the rest of the US military, the Marines have the smallest share of women among its ranks, and are known to have a particularly male-centric, if not misogynistic, culture.
The lieutenant, who wants to keep her identity private, was among 88 Marines who completed the Infantry Officer Course (IOC) out of 131 who started it in July. As the Washington Post noted in first reporting the story, the course is considered one of the toughest training regimens in the American armed forces.
Her first assignment will be at Camp Pendleton, California, and she is expected to lead a 40-person platoon.
In 2015, the US opened all combat roles to women, and the Marine Corps allowed women into all of its “military occupational specialties” the following year.
The corps has been trying to recruit more women as the service branch has become embroiled in scandal after scandal, the most recent involving active-duty members and veterans posting lewd photos of female colleagues online.
Although female soldiers face harassment everywhere, some countries are more aggressive than others in their efforts to have more inclusive militaries, in the interest of fairness, but also because women are crucial on today’s battlefields, as an expert told Quartz in March.