Britain opens all military roles to women

Newly-promoted Lance-Corporal Kat Dixon (centre) with other British Army service personnel in a photo released by the British Ministry of Defence.
Newly-promoted Lance-Corporal Kat Dixon (centre) with other British Army service personnel in a photo released by the British Ministry of Defence.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION) - Britain will open all combat roles to women - including elite units and special forces - in a landmark for gender equality in the military, the government said on Thursday (Oct 25).

"For the first time in its history, our armed forces will be determined by ability alone and not gender," defence minister Gavin Williamson said in a statement.

Women already serve in combat roles for the armed forces of a few developed nations, including the United States, Canada and Israel.

Britain lifted a ban on women serving on the frontline in 2016, but some fighting roles stayed out of reach, the ministry said. Now all jobs, including the elite Royal Marines and the Special Air Service (SAS) would be up for grabs, it added.

"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," Williamson said.