GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — From 1973 to 2010 the number of active-duty enlisted women in the military grew from 42,000 to 167,000. 

While that number continues to increase the gender gap is still prominent in all branches of the military -- including the Coast Guard. 

Thankfully, young girls and boys still have a lot of people to look up to. Like, Karissa Carver.

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"I’ve loved every minute," said Karissa Carver a firefighter in the U.S. Coast Guard, when asked if she enjoyed her job.

Carver says she chose this path for the adventure.

"I wanted an exciting job, not a boring office job," said Carver.

This is the 40th anniversary of the first female Coast Guard graduate class. Still being fairly new, the number of women in the Coast Guard is smaller.

The Coast Guard gender gap really emerges between five and ten years of service. Among enlisted personnel more than 71% of men stay in after 4 years of service while only about 6% of women do. That’s a difference of a little more than 8.5%. That gap jumps to over 12% at the 10-year mark. 

That doesn't discourage Carver. She says she wants to be an inspiration to young people seeking a career in the Coast Guard.

"I just want to be somebody they can look up to and know that there’s not limits just because – being a female," said Carver.

Carver doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, and says she continues to love her job.

"There's a lot of pride knowing you can do a job as well as anybody else," said Carver.

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