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For thousands of years in a substantial number of cultures and nations, women have served in various roles in the military , from ancient warrior women to those currently serving in current armed conflicts.
While the majority of combatants in most cultures have been men, a number of women in history have fought alongside them. In the American Civil War, there were women who sometimes even fought cross-dressed as men. Fighting on the battlefront was not the only way women involved themselves in war. Some also served as nurses and aides.
Despite various roles in the armies of past societies, the role of women in the military , particularly in combat , is controversial and it is only recently that women have begun to be given a more prominent role in contemporary armed forces. As increasing numbers of countries begin to expand the role of women in their militaries, the debate continues.