Not using them that way, guys...
My last year's work - any maybe the 2nd most important thing I have done in my 15 years of military service, has been to orchestrate the design the US Army's Special Operations Cultural Support Teams concept.
In Afghanistan, male Soldiers can't talk to Afghan women. They also can't search them or be in a room alone with them. These are cultural taboos and though the Army primarily kills people and breaks stuff, we have come along way in recognizing the positive impact we can have when abiding by cultural norms. When fighting a counter insurgency, such as in Afghanistan, we must empower the local governments, and we do that by strengthening the local communities and giving Afghans confidience that their government is working for them. By strengthening local governments throughout the country, we can make the national government stronger and thereby empower them to get rid of the bad guys and their influence.
The problem has been, that US Soldiers can mostly only talk to Afghan males. So, in essence, we lose out on working with 50% of the Afghan population. In that, we also lose out on a lot of information that the women have. They know where the bad guys are and where they hide the important stuff.
So - we designed the Cultural Support Teams (CST) to support Special Forces and Rangers. These females will go and talk to the Afghan women. They will learn their community's problems and will work with the Afghan women to solve them. They will also be trained to search Afghan women and children when looking for specific items that might lead to the capture of important bad guys. Women have been known to hide many items under their dresses, because they know the men won't search them - kids, too. Furthermore, sometimes bad guys dress up as women because they know they won't be searched.
These CSTs can get beyond all of that. We gave them 6 weeks of training in NOV and DEC and deployed them in JAN and they are doing great! We are accepting volunteers for our next deployment and we've received well over 1,000 calls and emails. Women want to be the next GI Jane - and good for them!
If anyone is further interested, here is the website which talks about our program and where the women Soldiers go to volunteer.USASOC Cultural Support Teams