UK to Review Ban on Women in Close-Combat Roles

26 May 2009 (Last Updated May 26th, 2009 18:30)

The British Ministry of Defence is reviewing its policy governing women serving in ground close-combat roles. Service women are currently excluded from roles where face-to-face combat is required. Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said that the review would examine the attitudes of se

The British Ministry of Defence is reviewing its policy governing women serving in ground close-combat roles.
Service women are currently excluded from roles where face-to-face combat is required.

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said that the review would examine the attitudes of service women and men and those of the commanders on the ground to assess the potential impact of mixed-gender teams on combat effectiveness.

"We will take account of all the experience we have gained in Afghanistan and Iraq since the last review to help determine whether our policy should remain the same," said Ainsworth.

The European Community (EC) law states that the UK armed forces are bound to conduct a review every eight years, under the Equal Treatment Directive.

The last review undertaken in 2002 concluded that the policy to employ only male personnel in certain close-combat roles should remain.

Women currently serve in ground combat support roles including forward observation officers and forward air controllers, and as medics.