BAGHDAD, Iraq – Rabab Adood never had much experience with guns before she entered the Baghdad Police Academy (search). But now she's at the top of her class … and she's on a mission.
Adoos and her sister, Intsar, are two of 39 women who are now enrolled out of the academy, along with about 2,500 men. Women weren't allowed to be police officers under former dictator Saddam Hussein (search) but very few say they would have wanted to.
"The word 'law' didn't exist prior to the war," said Intsar Adood. "The police officers were to follow the word of Saddam, which is not the law."
But many male cadets say they want to return to the old days, when women weren't allowed on the force. One student even said he'll quit if he's assigned to work with a woman; he thinks women should remain housewives, which many of the female cadets had done. They had to ask their husbands for permission to join the academy.
"My husband did not object to me coming to the academy to be a police officer and I have three kids but still my family did not say 'no,'" said cadet Iklas Oghman.
Some training gets a little getting used to, particularly part of the course on defense techniques; it's hard for Iraqi women (search) to get used to being aggressive. And as far as these women have come, they still aren't allowed to patrol on the street next to the men. When they graduate, they'll be in office jobs or working security checkpoints inside buildings.
But many of these women say that will change one day — and when it does, they'll be ready.
Click on the video box above for a complete report by FOX News' Caroline Shively.