'Take view' on Army women in combat

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: General Sir Peter Wall said allowing women in the Army to serve in combat zones must soon be seriously considered  
General Sir Peter Wall said allowing women in the Army to serve in combat zones must soon be seriously considered

The Army should "seriously consider" lifting its ban on women serving in combat roles in line with other countries, the chief of the general staff has said.

General Sir Peter Wall told The Sunday Times the British Army is in a minority of other armies because of the rule and offering all roles to women would make it "look more normal to society".

The Ministry of Defence, which under European Law must review the policy every eight years, said there would another review "before 2018".

The last statutory review in 2010 raised concerns that putting women and men together in small units for months at a time could undermine "team cohesion", but said women would be able to meet physical and psychological demands.

Women currently are allowed to serve on the front line with the artillery and as medics, engineers, intelligence officers and fighters pilots but not in close combat roles.

Last year the US lifted its own ban on women fighting on the front line, joining other countries including Germany, Canada, France and Israel.

Sir Peter told the newspaper: "We've got to take a view on that fairly soon. We're in a minority of armies now in that respect. It's definitely something that we need to be considering seriously but we need to go about this with great care, especially with all the other changes going on."

He said: " We have always said that we will look at the evidence and base our decision on what impact it will have on operational capability.

"This isn't just about getting more females into the 30% of roles that are combat trades but getting more of them into the Army per se.

"Women need to see they have equal opportunities right throughout the organisation.

"Allowing them to be combat troops would make us look more normal to society but there will always be people who say the close battle is no place for female soldiers."

In 2011 the Government announced that women would be allowed to go to sea with their male counterparts on the Royal Navy's Submarine Service for the first time in its 110-year history.

An MoD spokesman said: "The vast majority of roles in the Armed Forces are open to women and hundreds are currently serving their country with distinction in Afghanistan.

"They are fundamental to the operational effectiveness of the UK's Armed Forces, bringing talent and skills across the board.

"A 2010 review into women serving in combat roles concluded there should be no change to the existing policy and another review will take place before 2018."

Comments (2)

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11:26am Sun 6 Apr 14

999 number of the beast says...

I agree its time this was removed and women are allowed to fight on the frontline. We are probably missing out on excellent woman who are currently being underused in other ancillary positions.
I agree its time this was removed and women are allowed to fight on the frontline. We are probably missing out on excellent woman who are currently being underused in other ancillary positions. 999 number of the beast
  • Score: 0

11:49am Sun 6 Apr 14

mimseycal says...

Much as I detest the notion of combat as we in the West tend to fight only to impose our political views, I think that we need to look at this in a far more objective manner.

As such I am all for the notion that keeping people from engaging in combat purely on the basis of their gender is absurd. I have been in combat situations as a soldier. That I happen to be female by birth was no drawback. But then, the army I served in took on soldiers according to their ability and training alone and gender was immaterial.
Much as I detest the notion of combat as we in the West tend to fight only to impose our political views, I think that we need to look at this in a far more objective manner. As such I am all for the notion that keeping people from engaging in combat purely on the basis of their gender is absurd. I have been in combat situations as a soldier. That I happen to be female by birth was no drawback. But then, the army I served in took on soldiers according to their ability and training alone and gender was immaterial. mimseycal
  • Score: 2
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