US submarine service has been considered elite service and open only to men. In the fall of 2011, that will change. CNN says:
The change in policy was recommended by the top naval officer, Adm. Gary Roughead; the secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus; and Gates. No Navy leaders opposed the plan, officials said.
Women on submarines and gays openly serving in the military raise some of the same issues, particularly those concerned with sexual attraction among people living together in tight quarters. While no Navy leaders objected, it’s likely some of the officers off camera did. “No, it’s impossible,” I heard someone who used to serve on submarines say recently. “If you have to pass someone in a corridor of a submarine, you are going to be really rubbing against one another. You just can’t have this going on with men and women.”
Imagine a hall before a conference room where that was necessary! Privacy is another concern and CNN tells us:
The Navy will implement the policy change by assigning three female officers to eight different crews of guided-missile attack and ballistic-missile submarines. … Smaller, fast-attack submarines are considered to be too small to accommodate the necessary infrastructure change in living quarters that is possible on the larger subs, Navy officials explained.
Perhaps the corridors are wider.