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Though men continue to make up the bulk of the fighting force, the proportion of women in the military is soaring, says the Pew Research study, which also found a greater share of women than men in the military are black and a smaller share of females are married compared to their male counterparts.

Female veterans are also more apt to be critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than male veterans, the study found.

“The presence of women is felt now more than in any other previous era,” said Kim Parker, researcher and co-author of the report. “And what we see is that it’s not just in the enlisted ranks, but there are many more women in leadership role. The military has become a place of opportunity for both racial minorities as well as for women to take on leadership roles.”

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