I am going to start to say that I think that the authors of the paper that invoked a media frenzy last year did a very, very poor job in naming their study. "A female Viking Warrior confirmed by genomics" took another look at a Birka grave that was given a "warrior burial" (Bj581). The headline is misleading at best (and the paper does not really deal with some of the other issues that come up when looking at Birka).
Part of the problem here is that there is an assumption that everything in a grave might have been something used by the interred while they were alive. The reality is that we really don't know that, in many cases. What we can say is that the items in a grave actually say something about those left behind. It might be a case where a favorite tool was buried with the individual, but it could just as well be that the things put in the grave were displays of station or status. It could be memorabilia from loved ones, reminders or keepsakes. Remember too that there are cases of small children being buried with tools or weapons that they would have been too young to use. Does that mean that a little girl was a master seamstress or that a young boy was also a warrior?
Further, I have seen people screeching that it is sexist to declare that Bj581 was NOT a warrior grave now that we see DNA evidence that the bones are female. In actuality, I think that it is sexist to declare MALE graves with weapons were warriors without some other proof that they held that role in life (such as trauma to the skeleton). There is this modern desire to prove female empowerment in a past that goes even beyond some of the ideas fed to us by Victorian fantasy (and the number of memes promoting the "equality" of men and women in Viking culture is further proof of this). This sort of desire feeds the media frenzy that causes research papers like this to make international headlines.
An example of the above is a piece of research that came out a few years back. The study confirmed that half of the graves from a site in England were female. What was reported in the news was "50% of Viking Warriors were women". In reality, half the very small sample - 13 graves - were determined to be female. In this case, the report itself was not misleading, as it declares half of the MIGRANTS were female. That is a very different thing than the (horrific) journalism that started plastering headlines about half of Vikings being women. You can read more about the controversy in the two articles below (the original paper is here):
That aside, there are other issues that need to be looked at here. Judith Jesch, Professor at the University of Nottingham and author of Women in the Viking Age, has a very detailed post on her thoughts about this grave and it (as well as some of the commentary under it) is worth a read. norseandviking.blogspot.com/2017/09/lets-debate-female-viking-warriors-yet.html
Beyond everything I have listed above, other issues come up regarding Bj581, including the fact that the original grave was excavated a long time ago and there have previously been issues with grave contents not being properly marked (meaning that the bones could possibly even belong to another grave). Some of the issues with this are mentioned in this paper: www.academia.edu/34564381/FEMALE_VIKING_REVISED
If you are interested in following some exceptional, current, research on the topic of warrior women in the Viking Age I recommend that you look up Dr. Leszek Gardeła, who is heading up an impressive project. uni-bonn.academia.edu/LeszekGardela
The paper I consider most important in this field is his "Amazons of the North? Armed Females in Viking Archaeology and Medieval Literature". I recommend that you get in touch with your local library and request this item via inter-library loan immediate. It is a very comprehensive collection of evidence (iconography, archaeology, and textual) and discusses the possible drawbacks with each item and applies better context than you often see in battles waged online. Again, if this topic is of serious interest to you, you really need to get a copy of this paper.
Below is a video about Gardeła's project. I very much look forward to the next in the series.
Edited to add: I just read this paper and feel the need to include it in this discussion as well given that it addresses several of the things I mentioned above: https://www.academia.edu/36569707/Vikings_History_and_the_Search_for_Ourselves_SASS_talk_May_2018?fbclid=IwAR0D05ECQueSuUbguXK-TlTiTOFcpUzeHLljOireHoBNksYyRuGUxVjX73o