Mil News Women on front line?

John A Silkstone

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A ban on British service women fighting face to face with enemy forces is under review, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

Ministry of Defence to review ban on female soldiers in close combat Service women are currently excluded from roles where there is a requirement to kill the enemy face to face.

The MoD has launched a review into the policy governing women serving in ground close-combat roles.

The review is required by European Community Law which states that the UK Armed Forces are bound to conduct a review every eight years, under the Equal Treatment Directive, the MoD said.

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

Minister for the Armed Forces, Bob Ainsworth said: "Women are now serving in more posts on the front line than ever before and their contribution to the Armed Forces is essential. This review will include a thorough assessment of women's roles in recent operations.

"It will also 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."

Women currently serve in ground combat support roles including Forward Observation Officers and Forward Air Controllers and as medics.

They are precluded from serving in roles with the Royal Marines (General Service), the Household Cavalry, the Royal Armoured Corps, the Infantry, and the RAF Regiment.
 

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