I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. As a member I enjoy a number of activities including sword fighting. In the picture I am the short one and yes I made my armor except for the helm I am wearing and my shield. Armored combat is one of the activities I enjoy as a SCA member. I get to hit people with sticks (they also wear armor), get hit with sticks (ouch that was a good shot), and am a safety marshal. The goal is to metaphorically kill your opponent. Obviously like in a video game we get back up with our extra lives and start fighting again. It is all in good fun and a great stress reliever.
I am the only armored combat female fighter in my group. This doesn't mean the guys go easy on me. Quite frankly if they did I wouldn't respect them. You see once I put on armor and step onto the field of combat I am just another fighter. There is no male/female, no color/race/ethnicity, no difference between one fighter and another. The only differences you will see are skill, maturity (i.e. number of years fighting), and possibly size. Oh, and we have different armor depending on who made it, materials available, and how much a person wants to spend. Being on the "field of combat" is one place where everyone is equal Because of this I love it.