Historic moment for the military as all roles open to women
In a historic announcement, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that all roles within the UK Armed Forces are now open to women.
Any woman currently serving with the Army will now be able to transition into a frontline infantry role. Those not in service will be able to apply from December, with the first intake of female recruits anticipated in April 2019.
Crucially, servicewomen will also be able to apply to join the Royal Marines, with the first female candidates to be chosen by the year’s end. These trailblazers will begin their training early next year at the Royal Marines Commando training centre in Lympstone.
“Women have led the way with exemplary service in the armed forces for over 100 years, working in a variety of specialist and vital roles,” said Williamson. “So I am delighted that from today, for the first time in its history, our armed forces will be determined by ability alone and not gender. Opening all combat roles to women will not only make the armed forces a more modern employer but will ensure we recruit the right person for the right role.”
Women have always played a pivotal role in our nation’s Armed Forces, more recently in combat facing roles. But it was the former Prime Minister David Cameron who, in 2016, rescinded the ban on women serving in ground close combat roles.
In November 2016, the Royal Armoured Corps was the first ground close combat branch to open its doors to female soldiers and officers, followed by the RAF Regiment in September 2017. Today, around 35 female personnel are either serving or being trained to join the Royal Armoured Corps, with a number of servicewomen already deployed in their new role to Estonia or Oman.
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