Review into servicewomen in ground close combat roles
The Ministry of Defence announced on 26 May 2009 that it had launched a review into its policy governing women serving in ground close-combat roles:
Servicewomen are currently excluded from roles where there is a requirement to deliberately close with and kill the enemy face-to-face.
The investigation 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 last review was undertaken in 2002 and it concluded that the policy to employ only male personnel in certain close-combat roles should remain.
- MOD article in full: Review into servicewomen in ground close-combat roles
background about the Equal Treatment Directive...
There has been a series of European Directives about equal treatment for men and women. The current version - known as the Consolidated Equal Treatment Directive 2006/54 - contains the following provisions specifically relating to the armed forces:
This Directive does not require, in particular, the armed forces and the police, prison or emergency services to recruit or maintain in employment persons who do not have the required capacity to carry out the range of functions that they may be called upon to perform with regard to the legitimate objective of preserving the operational capacity of those services.
Moreover, in order that the Member States may continue to safeguard the combat effectiveness of their armed forces, they may choose not to apply the provisions of this Directive concerning disability and age to all or part of their armed forces. The Member States which make that choice must define the scope of that derogation.
Member States may provide that this Directive, in so far as it relates to discrimination on the grounds of disability and age, shall not apply to the armed forces.
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