Joining many countries like India, Israel, and Canada, Britain has also allowed women to enter combat roles in the British army and serve shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in the cavalry, infantry and armoured corps . Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron made this announcement at the NATO Summit happening in Warsaw, Poland on Friday.
Women in Britain can be part of infantry or armoured corps in support roles on the front line but were banned from serving in close combat units . But this new ruling will see women in tank units within a year’s training. The first women’s troop will begin in frontline combat roles in the UK’s Royal Armoured Corps. The other areas of the armed forces like infantry, air force, marines and Special Forces will follow suit making all of them gender equal.
The PM called the lifting of the ban a ‘major step’ and said, “I have asked that this is implemented as soon as possible. It is vital that our armed forces are world-class and reflect the society we live in. It will ensure the armed forces can make the most of all their talent and increase opportunities for women to serve in the full range of roles,” as reported by Indian Express.
UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who is pro-ability and does not consider gender as a criteria for the combat roles, asked for an 18-month review of training procedures and the challenges it can cause to a female soldier’s body and health.
General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the UK’s General Staff led the internal reviews in the British army speculating if women are strong enough for the combat roles or more prone to injuries.
The talks of the move began last year in December when the Cameron came together with UK defence secretary Michael Fallon to see women getting inducted in combat roles in the UK army in 2016.
“We’ve already lifted a number of barriers in our armed forces with the introduction of female submariners and women reaching the highest ranks in all services. We should finish the job next year and open up ground combat roles to women,” Cameron said last year.
Back home in India, the move came from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, when he permitted women to be inducted in the combat roles in the Indian Air Force. Three women cleared the initial training for the IAF and will be inducted within next year in the forces.
Feature Image Credit: Express