News story

Women in combat roles

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced that a review into whether women can serve in combat roles has been brought forward.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Women in the armed forces (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Si Pugsley, Crown copyright]
Women in the armed forces (library image)

The review will start immediately and conclude by the end of 2014. The vast majority of roles in the armed forces are already open to women, and this review will look at whether females can serve in combat roles, such as in the infantry or the Royal Armoured Corps in the army.

The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, said:

Our experience in Afghanistan has highlighted the increasingly important contribution women are making to operations. It is now sensible to review the army’s approach to the employment of female soldiers in the combat arms of the army: the Royal Armoured Corps and the infantry. The key factor informing this judgement will be the delivery of operational effectiveness.

Recent changes in the armed forces have seen the role of clearance diver opened up to women in 2010 and as of December 2011 women can now serve on submarines, with the first 3 female submariners recently qualifying.

Published 8 May 2014