In Australia, some women are claiming the right to be front-line soldiers on the same basis as men. The claim is that they should be allowed to go into battle as combatants on precisely the same terms as male soldiers, as part of equal rights. There could be a problem here that some people have not considered.
If the world wants to prevent violence against women, women should not be put in situations where they could experience unavoidable violence, such as a combat zone. And nor should they behave violently towards men, if the man is not to retaliate. To put it simply, if a woman attacks a man she cannot blame him for defending himself; and in combat, she could find herself attacking a man, forcing him to fight back. This could give the female soldier an unfair advantage. If a man has been taught not to offer violence to a woman, or has a natural aversion to doing so, then he can't fight back against a female soldier the way he could do against a male one. It is sometimes possible in combat to clearly see and identify your adversary. A man realizing that the soldier in his line of fire is female may be less able to fight back against her. This gives the female soldier an illegitimate advantage. Of course, we can say violence should be avoided altogether, but so far no-one has found a way of preventing war. It only takes one side to insist on getting their way by armed or physical force, and their intended victim has to defend themselves. At least if we can't stop war we might limit the evil of it by restricting the way it is conducted. That is the basis of the Geneva Convention, with rules such as no killing of prisoners.
Some commentators say that women are less suited to combatant duty than men. That probably varies with the individual. Some men loath violence utterly. Some women resort to it very easily. The point here is that if violence against women is a thing we want to abolish, then women should not be in a situation where they would either inflict it or suffer it. For that matter, if it is worse for a man to attack a woman than to attack another man, the same applies in reverse. It is bad for a woman to attack another woman, worse to attack a man. Cross gender violence violates the special relationship that should exist between the two genders.
Equality in principle is not the same thing as being identical in practice. It may be that in some ways the two sexes are different and that should be reflected in the duties they undertake. Any thoughts?