Sister Soldiers: Women Ready for Frontline Combat?

ABC's Cecilia Vega shows you what it takes to be a woman on the front lines.
2:02 | 01/24/13

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Transcript for Sister Soldiers: Women Ready for Frontline Combat?
night, defense secretary leon panetta made it official, after 200 years. More than 200 years. American women are no longer banned from serving in combat. But there I catch. They have to meet the physical requirements. Is it hard? W we asked abc's cecilia I have ga to show us what it takes. Reporter: Thousands of jobs historically off limits will now be up for grabs. Jobs like leaping from airplanes and infiltrating enemy lines to rescue stranded air force colleagues. That has never before been allowed. But to fight alongside men, women will have to pass the same physically grueling tests elite special forces like the navy S.E.A.L.s NEED TO. Swim the length of five football fields in at least 12 minutes and 30 seconds. Do 50 pushups, 50 curlups and 10 pull-ups in six minutes total. That's followed by a mile and a half run in at least 10 minutes. Studies have shown women can outperform men when it comes to endurance. But will they have the upper body strength needed to lift and load a 50-pound shell into a tonit tank gun? Retired air force brigadier general ruth wong served as a medic in desert storm. Is there a role in the military that you think women cannot do? I can't see one at this point in time. Reporter: Women serve in combat roles around the world, but they make up just a small fraction of combat soldiers. In israel, just 3%. But some former officers say women will have to prove they have the physical strength to serve on the front lines. The combat roles, that has to be addressed if the standards are going to be separate. Those that enter special operation unit, standards are high and high for a reason. Reporter: So many women he loheir lives already. 152 in the line of duty in iraq and afghanistan alone. But now, it's the actual front lines that will be wide open. angeles. And still ahead, right here on "world news," you will hear

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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