The numbers of women in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) aren't growing much but the top brass is hopeful reforms to open up combat positions will attract more applicants.
Army Chief Lieutenant General David Morrison has told a parliamentary hearing he hopes to see a woman promoted to general during his tenure.
And RAAF chief Air Marshal Geoff Brown says women comprised 22 per cent of recent candidates for promotion, and a third of candidates for promotion to senior ranks.
There were now 7816 women in the ADF, out of a fulltime force of 58,000.
At brigadier-equivalent level, there are 10 women - one in navy, six in army and three RAAF. And at major-general level, there's just one - Rear Admiral Robyn Walker, commander of defence health services.
Defence force chief General David Hurley said ADF cultural change programs would attract more women.
"Our decision in relation to women in combat certainly opens ... the door for women to go into more places," he told the senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Wednesday.
"But how rapid and radical that might be is still to be seen."
In comparable nations, women generally account for about 20 per cent of their defence forces.
Lieutenant General Morrison said while the army had fewer women than other services, numbers were increasing.
A recent graduation function for 54 army reserve officers included eight women, with two going to the infantry and one to armoured corps.
Two female officers were currently reviewing diving school training, to identify any issues that might disadvantage women trainees.
"It's not good enough to just say `it's now open to women, put some women on the course'," he told the inquiry.
But the navy hasn't had a rush of female volunteers for the course.
"I think we have had one expression of interest," Vice Admiral Griggs said.
RAAF chief Air Marshal Geoff Brown said most airforce roles had long been open to women.