Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

US lifts female combat ban

arm2hero.jpg
arm3hero.jpg
ukhero.jpg

The Pentagon has made a landmark decision to let female soldiers on the frontline.

Almost 200,000 women serve in the US army but, like British female soldiers, they are formally banned from serving in many combat roles.

US defence secretary Leon Panetta is expected to formally announce the groundbreaking move today, overturning a 1994 ruling banning women from direct ground combat for five reasons: "berthing and privacy, co-location, physically demanding tasks, long-range reconnaissance and special operations forces."

The ruling will see 230,000 jobs made available to women in the US army, beginning next year.

This is an historic step for equality and for recognising the role women have, and will continue to play, in the defense of our nation. - US senator Patty Murray

"From the streets of Iraqi cities to rural villages in Afghanistan, time and again women have proven capable of serving honourably and bravely," added Murray, who chairs the Senate veterans' affairs committee and is a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee. "In fact, it's important to remember that in recent wars that lacked any true frontlines, thousands of women already spent their days in combat situations serving side-by-side with their fellow male service members."

The UK dismissed plans to reverse the military ban on women in 2010, on the basis that allowing mixed gender groups in close combat situations could have "far-reaching and grave consequences". The Ministry of Defence said that in intense battle situations, "team cohesion becomes of much greater importance" and it was suggested that male soldiers may become too concerned with protecting a wounded female colleague, at risk to their own lives.

Should British female soldiers be allowed on the frontline? Cast your vote below and tell us why in the comments section or on Twitter

Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features

Related

bookher3.jpg

Inspirational Quotes From Female Writers

herogold.jpg

The women of 2012

hero.jpg

Iconic British Sportswomen

Comments

Latest...

Anne Hathaway says she is losing film roles to 24-year-olds

Does this face look old to you?

04 Sep 2015

Authors unite to raise over £50,000 for refugees in a matter of hours

Overwhelming support pours in

03 Sep 2015

This week's A-list Instagram highlights

From Romeo Beckham's birthday to Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston's selfie

03 Sep 2015

Bake Off star Sue Perkins has had a brain tumour for 8 years

Condition means she can't have children

02 Sep 2015

Lucy Mangan: “Why I Asked For Help For My OCD”

01 Sep 2015

Celebrities speak out on the secret to long-lasting love

Andy Murray offers a tip for newlyweds...

01 Sep 2015

Chrissie Hynde sparks outrage over rape comments

Rock legend claims women's clothes can lead to attacks

01 Sep 2015

Revealed: the Disney meaning behind Rachel Bilson's baby name

“We have Disney songs playing in our house 24-7 right now”

01 Sep 2015

Inside The O.C.'s £4 million Cohen Family mansion

California, here we come...

28 Aug 2015

Miley Cyrus calls out Robin Thicke over controversial MTV performance

“I got so much of the heat for it, but that’s just being a woman”

28 Aug 2015