"Where ya gonna find another girl who can shoot the eye out of a Bug at two hundred meters?
will often include a female to widen the demographic appeal (to women and, er, young men
Fills the role that was used primarily for minority characters
in earlier times. A lone black or Japanese soldier fighting in an otherwise all-white, American WWII unit was its most common form, despite being totally unrealistic since the US Armed forces did not integrate their combat units until 1948, 3 years after the end of the war
A particularly strange trope in countries where women are specifically barred from serving on the front line
. However, sometimes this may be explained as being a test for determining whether or not to lift this barring. Other times, circumstances may force female troops not serving in combat positions to take this role because modern war contains no real front lines.
If the Squadette is particularly skilled, she's also an Action Girl
. If The Squad
Squadettes, you get the Amazon Brigade
. If The Squadette has to disguise herself as a man, she's Sweet Polly Oliver
. There is rarely more than one
, and if a new one joins the Squad, odds are the old one will die
. A Squadette isn't unusual or token in a society where Gender Is No Object
These characters are frequently attractive. Because the only thing hotter for some people than a woman who can fix your car
is a woman who can kick a lot of ass
. With a HOT missile
Short hair is common but not obligatory. May also be a Ladette
, but this is not a mandatory trait. On the other hand, if she remains feminine and elegant while being a competent fighter, she may be a Lady of War
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Anime and Manga
- Area 88: Kitori in the TV series; Sela in manga issues that did not make it stateside.
- Fullmetal Alchemist, in general. This is a universe which seems to have a universal draft, or at least equal opportunities for women, as there's a pretty large percentage of female soldiers, including Riza Hawkeye, Olivier Armstrong, Maria Ross, Rebecca Catalina, and a decent number of background soldiers, overall amounting ten to fifteen perfect of the soldiers shown. Martel was also once a soldier before she became a Chimera.
- Hellsing Seras Victoria in the first episode. All things considered maybe she shouldn't have been there...although she did noticeably better than the rest of the troop. After that, she gets promoted to full-on Action Girl. This is not the case in the original manga and Ultimate anime, as there she was just an ordinary constable who stumbled onto a case that was way to big for her and somehow ended up surviving longer than everyone else in town did. Her eventual promotion to Action Girl still happens, though.
- The appearance of a woman on a SWAT Team (or the equivalent) used to be fictional, but women have been represented more and more in real life.
- Toshokan Sensou Iku Kasahara is the first woman to join the elite Library Task Force.
- The Losers: Although never an official member of the squad, Norwegian partisan Ona Tomsen filled this role for a time in this DC Comics series.
- The New Universe of Marvel had Jenny Swensen became this when her MAX armor was co-opted by the Army.
- Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja has Sgt. Debra Levin, a 19-year-old Green Beret and the only female in the suicide mission to extract John Doe.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a reflection of Real Life, the Archie comics version had a female Middle Eastern soldier with special powers.
Film — Animated
- Mulan: While shown as a Lady of War in ancient Chinese literature and various live action films, the Disneyfied version of the character is portrayed more as in this trope, which is somewhat justifiable as the character is just fresh out of training. However, none of her later exploits are shown and she becomes combat competent only towards the end of the film.
Film — Live-Action
- Aliens. Vasquez. Also Dietrich and Ferro.
- Avatar. Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez), part of the largely sausage party SecFor.
- Basic. Nunez, a female US Army ranger, which the US Army did not and still does not permit.
- Cliffhanger. The only member of his team Qualen actually admires is Action Girl Kristel, who's smarter than the rest of his mooks (when making the fake distress call, she claims that one of their party is running out of insulin so the rescue team won't wait till after the storm). Despite this, Qualen ruthlessly kills her to force the hand of a rebellious team member.
- Courage Under Fire. Captain Karen Walden (Meg Ryan). She's a medical chopper pilot, but the movie revolves around her having to take this role when she and her crew are shot down in enemy territory.
- Down Periscope. Lt. Lake (Lauren Holly). At the time the movie was released, the US Navy did not permit women to serve on submarines. Justified, however, as she's explained as being a test case for doing so.
- G. I. Jane. Lt. Jordan O'Neil (Demi Moore). The US Navy didn't and still does not permit women to be in Special Ops. Justified, as the whole plot of the movie is her being a test case for doing so.
- The Kingdom. Janet Mayes (Jennifer Garner). Justified in that she is an FBI agent. Currently 18% of FBI agents are female, it would not be terribly unlikely for her to appear. Now the question of whether they would send her to Saudi Arabia is a different story.
- An Officer and a Gentleman, Casey Seeger who wants to be the Navy's first female aviator, which wasn't allowed at the time of the movie's release but now is.
- Predators has Isabelle the sniper.
- Starship Troopers. Dizzy Flores in both The Movie and the Animated Adaptation.
- SWAT (2003). Police Officer Third Grade Chris Sánchez (again Michelle Rodriguez).
- American women are allowed to join SWAT teams, although it is still rare for a woman to do so. Here is an article about a woman who is part of an American SWAT team.
- Wake of Death. This otherwise forgettable Jean-Claude Van Damme movie has a female US Army officer wearing a Combat Infantryman's Badge, which only men can receive as women are not permitted in Infantry (11) or Special Forces (18) series MOS.
- Iron Eagle II. Valeri Zuyeniko, despite the fact that the Soviet Union stopped using female combat pilots after World War II.
- Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Scarlet and The Baroness from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
- Ender's Game: Petra Arkanian, the lone girl of Battle School. Do not confuse her with The Chick.
- The Forever War: Has a near-even mix of male and female with most women being Squadettes, plus co-ed locker rooms and bunks— it's literally mandatory to share a bed, at least before the first Time Skip.
- The Guns of the South: The Harry Turtledove alternate history novel had Molly Bean, a prostitute who served with the Castalia Invincibles on the side of the Confederacy. She was disguised as her "cousin" Melvin Bean to hide her femininity (She was flat-chested, which helped). For the record, there was an actual Molly Bean in the Real Life Invincibles, but she was discovered and kicked out (Turtledove couldn't find out her actual job, so he speculated that she was prostitute).
- John Ringo seems to be fond of these. Examples include Marine Sgt. Ellsworthy in the Legacy of the Aldenata series, and Sergeant Major Eva Kosutic and Sergeant Nimashet Despreaux in the Prince Roger series.
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen: has a number of examples. Blend, Picker and Smiles to name a few of Imperial Marines that are in the various armies. Not to mention Sorry from the first book.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe's X-Wing Series: The first and only series to have as its main heroic cast the X-Wing pilots of Rogue Squadron, was also the first series to have some of those pilots be female. The roster changes as people die or transfer out, but typically there are at least two, possibly more, in Rogue Squadron at any given time, although generally the women are outnumbered by the men. Some are human, some are not.
- One of the comics showed four proto-Rogues before the Death Star on a mission where one of them got killed. The others went on to be in Red Squadron and survived. Those others, human men all, were Jek Porkins, Biggs Darklighter, and Wedge Antilles. The pilot who died in a Heroic Sacrifice was "Doc", a stocky female Twi'lek who seemed rather like a Twofer Token Minority.
- Tyria Sarkin of Wraith Squadron lampshaded this trope after being flirted with by a squadronmate, asking if this was going to be one of "those" squadrons where there was one woman pilot that all the men were chasing.
- The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold has Elena Bothari-Jesek, Elli Quinn and Taura. Also Cordelia Naismith, whose brief military career provides a lampshading.
- The Zone novels set in an Alternate History World War III. Andrea, a beautiful East German Sociopathic Soldier who is inducted into the unit because its CO Major Revell has an unhealthy fascination with her. Justified in that Revell's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits is not under anyone's direct authority, and therefore routinely replaces causalities by plundering them from other units.
- The The War Gods series by David Weber has Kaeritha, especially when she's travelling with Bahzell, Brandark and company.
- In Honor Harrington the Manticoran and Havenite military forces is completely gender-neutral so there are plenty of examples. The Grayson Space Navy was male-only until the second novel and is slowly changing.
- In the Swedish fantasy novel Spiran och Staven (The Sceptre and the Quarterstaff) women of the Zaki people that choose to go the male way of life may become warriors. The competent officer Sorana serves as an unexpected mercenary in the novel's main military conflict, which takes place far away from the Zaki empire.
- In the Temeraire series, the refusal of the acid-spitting (and thus stratigically indespensable) Longwing dragon breed to accept male handlers means that Napoleonic Britain's Aerial Corps is peppered with these. This was hidden from the populace at large, the other branches of service, and the bulk of the government itself until Jane Roland made Admiral.
- Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) is attached to the mixed-gender 597th Valhallan regiment for most of his career, created by shoving the remains of an all-male and an all-female regiment together. In Warhammer 40K, such regiments are less common than all-female ones, as maybe 10% of the Imperial Guard are women.
Live Action TV
- From what we've seen of the Unification War in Firefly, Zoe Alleyne seems to be the only female who served under Malcolm Reynolds.
- Battlestar Galactica Both versions have examples of this:
- The original managed to screw this up with the two-parter "Lost Planet of the Gods". The fleet has a shortage of pilots, so they scrounge desperately for shuttle pilots and anybody who can fly. The part where feminism goes clunk? They're all women. Due to Unfortunate Implications (i.e.: they're so screwed, they have no choice but train the girlies) many fans regard an otherwise fine episode as a low point. These pilots are never seen again (Although some occasionally had a mention in comics), and you never see another female pilot until Sheba, and she was only introduced to be a love interest to Apollo.
- The new one did much better at this. Right out of the gate, you see women like Starbuck and Boomer (Kat and Caprica Six show up later on).
- Bluestone 42: Corporal Lynda Bird, very much in Ladette mould.
- Farscape: had this with the Peacekeepers mixed squads, and ex-Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun.
- Law & Order: Used as a plot point in an episode. The police break up a wild hotel party being held by a group of sailors on shore leave. In one of the rooms, they find the body of woman who they assume is a hired prostitute. Then they discover her uniform and realize that the deceased was a Lieutenant.
- M*A*S*H has this, justified in the fact that they're the nurses of the 4077.
- Over There: "Doublewide" and "Mrs. B" are truck drivers who get stuck with the all-male squad for various reasons nearly every episode.
- Space: Above and Beyond: Shane Vansen. Also, "Damn Fool" Damphousse.
- The Unit: The CBS series is a notable exception, with the only female members at Mission Control. Although they do have all the characters' wives tearing each other to pieces back home.
- Ironically, the real-life Delta Force (on which the show is loosely based) has supposedly used women in certain situations as intelligence and non-combat field agents.
- They DID try to incorporate Bridget "RedCap" Sullivan into the unit when she first appeared in the beginning of season 4, but for reasons unknown they gradually moved her duties back to Mission Control and to other menial tasks.
- Captain/Major/Lt. Colonel Samantha "Sam" Carter, from Stargate SG-1 and later Stargate Atlantis. In her first appearance, she mentions how she accumulated over 100 hours flight time over hostile territory in the Gulf War.
- Combat Hospital shows women serving in Afghanistan in a number of roles, from doctors and nurses to chopper pilots.
- Red Cap has Sergeant Jo McDonough and Staff Sergeants Neve Kirland (season 1) and Harriet Frost (season 2).
- In Blake's 7 every armed resistance group or Federation base seems to have a single female member in a speaking role, while everyone else is male. There are never any female mooks in the background, silently working their way up the ranks to the position of Supreme Commander or Rebel Leader.
- This is a plot point in the Australian 1990's mini-series Phoenix. The only female member of the Major Crime Unit is the unit's analyst; as a result she has a problem getting the detectives to take her — and by extension her job — seriously.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Ezio can recruit women into his bunch of Assassins.
- Kinda subverted in that the gender ratio for Assassin recruits is roughly 50/50, so you'll likely end up with at least half of your brotherhood being female. Or 100%, with the Sisterhood cheat.
- Call Of Duty: Finest Hour. Lt. Tanya Pavelovna in the Eastern Front missions who is a playable character for several levels.
- Call of Duty 2 has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Squadette in the Stalingrad levels—-she's equipped with a PPsh, and screams incessantly at the soldiers vigorous patriotism and insults anyone who hangs back from an assault.
- Conflict Global Ops. Carrie Sherman. Your squad is initially all male, but she gets assigned as a replacement sniper after your previous one is captured.
- Gears of War. Anya Stroud, Samantha Byrne, and Bernadette Mataki in the third game. In the first two games and the novelizations, only men do the fighting, while all fertile women are used for reproductive purposes, and all non-fertile women serve in support roles. However, by the third game, humanity is down to its last legs and needs every available body to fight.
- Iron Grip : The Opression Gretchen Stoertebellor, member of a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits resistance cell and a former bandit. Her father was both a legendary badass and an infamous pirate warlord.
- BioWare games avert it by providing plenty of female NPCs to bring along in your squad, from straight up action girls like Ashley Williams or Aveline Vallen to powerful magic types like Morrigan or even a Wrench Wench like Tali.
- Starcraft: Lt. Sarah Kerrigan, and Nova.
- The Valkyrie Frigate serves this role in the Terran arsenal, being the only damage-capable unit with a female portrait (neither the Medic nor the Dropship can actually inflict damage). In 2, the Banshee stealth bomber (well, not really a bomber; more like a A-10 with a cloaking device) is present as well.
- Traffic Department 2192: Vulthaven's TD has at least three: player character Lieutenant Marta Louise Velasquez, Commander Renee White, Lieutenant Nicola Cartel.
- Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 has Fox, the first female commando in the series.
- G.I. Joe Both sides have some. The Joes had Scarlett, Lady Jaye, Cover Girl, Jinx, and Firewall. Cobra had a few female members, most notably The Baroness and Zarana. And in the same episode mentioned below, a bunch of female Cobra grunts showed up for the Baroness to command. There was also the occasional comparatively low-ranking female trooper or agent. In a few cases not even being named, or with any attention in the plot paid to their gender—just mooks who happened to be women.
- Averted in one episode, where the male Joes are put out of commission by the Cobra Widget Of The Day and the above trio save the day, backed by a battalion's worth of never before (or since) seen female Joe redshirts (or greenshirts, as the case may be).
- The comic had an issue where, in disguise, the female Joes broke up a hostage situation by appearing to be nurses and then beating the ever-living shit out of the bad guys.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series had an episode where all the men were incapacitated, and the women had to take over (Sound familiar? See the Battlestar Galactica example above). Uhura and the first non-wimpy version of Christine Chapel ran the ship, and had already solved the problem by the time men stagger back aboard.
- It is notable that in real life it is generally preferred to have several women serving together in a unit as opposed to a single woman for morale purposes. This is commonly done in fighter squadrons where there will be three or four women in a squadron or none at all.
- Miss England 2009: Lance Corporal Katrina Hodge (who had been commended for bravery for disarming and downing an escaping prisoner).
- Canada. The Canadian military allows women to fill all the same positions as men, apart from a very few positions on their older submarines that lack facilities for female crew members. Female soldiers were (and are) among the numerous Canadian troops fighting in Afghanistan, alongside with men.
- Concerning Afghanistan, Canada ended its combat role there in 2011, and will withdraw remaining personnel left for training the ANA in 2014.
- Germany. In 2000 a female German medic successfully went to the European Court of Justice to remove restrictions for women bearing arms in the German armed forces. Her original intention was just to be allowed to receive weapon training for self defense, but it caused the German Government to officially allow woman in their armed forces as soldiers. Nowadays female soldiers are a notable if still small part of their land, air and sea forces.
- South Korea. There's a rumor that South Korean special forces (at least) have all-female teams for use in situations where women are perceived as less suspicious.
- For real. In the 707th SMB, there's an all-women unit deployed in operations where they're not considered a threat. Considering the Asian culture norms on women. It's mentioned here.
- Taiwan. According a NATO Review , only six of the 18 members of NATO have a greater percentage of women in their ranks than the Taiwanese Armed Forces, and only three nations actually have more women in uniform than does Taiwan. This may have something to do with the fact that the ROC Military relies on conscription of men only, and women must join the better-treated and better-paid officer corps.
- Finland. Finnish defence forced showed green light for women to serve in the armed forces in 1992, and several women have opted to do so. They can (and do) serve in all branches and tasks, yet there are same requirements for physical performance for both sexes. Those women who do pass the physical for demanding tasks, such as Parachute Rangers, often are tough as nails. Many women, who have served, have also volunteered in UN peacekeeping missions.
- Originally some tasks (e.g. Military Police) were designed to be forbidden from females. But enough females demanded to be given at least a chance to try and all limits were dropped.
- Russia. Technically does not allow women to do combat duties or become commanding officers of anything that sees combat, but that's only in peacetime. During both World Wars Russia/Soviet Union did have female soldiers, officers and even all-female units doing actual combat. Some even were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, only given for exceptional acts of heroism or inflicting big losses to enemy.
- Civil War-era Russia had, in fact, no Tsarist regulations still functioning and no Communist regulations yet functioning. This meant that any woman who wished so could pick up a gun and join any army, bandit gang or army that is a bandit gang. One particular subtrope was the female commissar; the pre-revolutionary Bolsheviks were egalitarian, and had to send their old cadre to the frontlines en masse when the Revolution was complete and the Civil War started.
- The US has decided to open infantry combat roles to women (which ones to be decided), so this will filter through to the US media.
- Thanks to the nature of the war in the Middle East (no front lines, inspections of civilians and civilian properties), more women than ever were involved in fighting and combat. See this series of articles in the NY Times.
- Related tropes:
- Lady of War. See the Real Life section of this trope for examples of women who openly served as warriors in the past — historical squadettes.
- Sweet Polly Oliver. See also the Real Life section of this trope for historical examples of women who disguised themselves as men to become squadettes. Women have been fighting in wars side-by-side with men for many centuries; they just couldn't always do so openly.