British women soldiers will now be allowed to fight in combat roles in the infantry and tank units for the first time, from November, after UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that a ban on them fighting at the front line would be lifted.
The rule change came after lengthy research into whether women soldiers on the front line would be more at risk of “musculoskeletal injury, psychological issues and impaired reproductive health.”
At a Nato summit in Warsaw on Friday, Mr Cameron revealed he had accepted the findings of a Ministry of Defence study which argued that women should at least be allowed to take up “ground close combat roles”.
“The chief of [the] general staff has recommended that we lift the ban on women in ground close combat, a view that has been supported by the other service chiefs.
“I agree with his advice and have accepted his recommendation. 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. Lifting this ban is a major step. 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,” British PM said.
Women make up more than 10% of the British military, but until now they have been restricted to non-ground combat roles.
With the new development, the first women will start in frontline combat roles in the Royal Armoured Corps from November. This will extend to all areas of the armed forces by the end of 2018, including the infantry, air force, marines and some special forces.