The First Women Might Complete Army Ranger School, Plus 4 More Things Women Are Defying Expectations To Accomplish

Completing Ranger School, a 61-day combat leadership course, is not an easy feat for anyone. The U.S. Army's website calls it "the most physically and mentally demanding leadership school the Army has to offer." So, some people probably thought women couldn't succeed in it. But right now, two of the three women who started the most recent Ranger School course will enter the final Swamp Phase. The other one, along with 60 men who didn't make it to Swamp Phase, will get another shot at the previous Mountain Phase on Saturday. Even if the third woman doesn't pass that one, two out of three women in the final round ain't too bad compared to 65 out of 125 men. If the two women still in the course pass the last phase, they'll be the first women to complete the course. 

The Swamp Phase, located at the in Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, is enough to send shivers down anyone's spine. As Military.com describes it:

The phase consists of two jumps for airborne qualified personnel; four days of waterborne operations training to include small boat movements and stream crossings; a 10-day field training exercise with student-led patrols; and two administrative days where the students are counseled on their performance during the phase.

Hopefully, whether they make it to the very end or not, these women will serve as inspiration to other women who want to complete the course. After all, women have been breaking into all sorts of fields they were deemed incapable of entering. Here are a few more feats they've defied expectations to accomplish in recent years.

1. Hammer Throwing

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Track and field athlete Amanda Bingson set the American record for hammer throwing in 2013, with a distance of 75.73 m. She told ESPN that women are just getting started in this sport, which became a female Olympic event in the 2000s, but their distances have been skyrocketing ever since. She added, "If I medal in the upcoming Olympics, I'm just going to chug a beer." I like her attitude.

2. Firefighting

Amid all the debate over whether the standards for becoming a firefighter should be lowered to include more women, it's easy to forget that many women have made it into the profession with its current entrance tests. About six percent of firefighters in the U.S. are women. The history of American female firefighters dates back to the early 1800s, when a slave named Molly Williams braved a fire alone after an influenza outbreak left the rest of the force out of commission.

3. Flying Planes

We all learned about Amelia Earheart in elementary school, yet our own flying experiences seem oddly devoid of women in the cockpit. Several women interviewed for a CNN feature on the United S.'s current lack of female pilots said many women don't have role models to demonstrate that flying planes is a viable career option. "It just seems like the women, if they didn't have it around them as a young child, then it's not something they considered," said aviation professor Victoria Dunbar. Still, there are been many notable female pilots since Earheart, and women currently make up five percent of the Air Line Pilots Association.

4. Technology

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It has become a cliche that women are underrepresented in the tech industry, but with all the recent articles, websites, and social media campaigns highlighting female tech employees, people now have no excuse to view the sector as solely a man's world. There are far too many women leading the tech industry to even name, but a few interesting examples are Allison Huynh, who created a non-violent video game called MyDream, and Neha Sampat, CEO of the software company Built.io.

Images: Tony Dagey/Flickr

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