If I mean to say that many students who were also women smoked cigarettes, but do not wish to use "female students," which of the following would be correct to say:
a) Many woman students smoked cigarettes
b) Many women students smoked cigarettes
I have read all the related posts - they are all helpful but doesn't answer my specific question. As a general rule, the first noun is often singular as in "girl students" and not "girls students" but there are exceptions to this rule, for instance, "women leaders." In fact, I have seen both "woman presidents" and "women presidents" being used frequently.
Could someone, please explain me, any rule there might be for pluralizing compound nouns where both the head noun or attributive noun and the noun it modifies are countable (Please note that I don't mean 'student' here as a collective noun for a body of students).