Should women serve on the front line? The arguments for and against

David Cameron has announced plans to ditch the ban on female soldiers being sent to the front line

Article published in The  Sunday Mirror, 20 December 2015.

Female soldiers could be serving on the front line in a matter of months.

David Cameron has announced plans to ditch the ban on female soldiers being sent to the front line.

It is expected that women will be allowed to take close combat roles with the Army by the autumn.

The Prime Minister said: “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.”

He added: “We should finish the job next year – and open up ground combat roles to women.”

Labour backed the decision and argued it is important the Army becomes more diverse.

YES – Maria Eagle, Shadow Defence Secretary

One of the Forces’ biggest hurdles in the years to come is to make sure they better reflect the society they serve.

Only then can the Army, Royal Navy and the RAF make sure they look like modern Britain.

Allowing women to serve in close combat roles would mark a huge step towards achieving this vital goal.

It would bring us into line with many of the UK’s strongest allies, including the US, Canada, France and Australia.

We have to ask ourselves why only 10% of our regular service personnel are women.

Allowing women to serve in close combat roles is not only the right thing to do.

But it will also mean that our Forces will be able to make the most of the rich talents that the UK’s brave service women have to offer.

NO – Col Richard Kemp, Ex-Army Commander

The Prime Minister’s decree is merely testament to this Government’s obsession with political correctness, at the expense of our nation’s defences.

Today, women serve in the Armed Forces with expertise, valour and distinction in a multitude of roles.

I am in no doubt as to the value of women in our Armed Forces.

This does not mean they should be permitted to join the infantry.

Fighting as an infantryman is the toughest job in the Army. Very few men are suited, and even less women.

Those that did make the cut would find themselves outnumbered and cliques would form.

This would undermine the cohesiveness that characterises any great fighting force, making our Army less effective in the field.

Let us hope we do not live to rue such a decision.