Today marks the start of a new era for the British Army as it welcomes applications from female civilians to apply to join the Infantry. The move follows the announcement in July 2016 that exclusions on women serving in Ground Close Combat (GCC) roles were being lifted.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the date at the Land Combat Power Visit on Salisbury Plain in October, when he opened infantry roles to women who are already serving in other Army units. New recruits could potentially start basic training in April 2019.
It is hoped that opening all roles to women will increase the quality and quantity of soldiers. Indeed, it is only right and fair that people who can meet the standards are given the opportunity to do so.
Combat effectiveness will be maintained through the maintenance of physical employment standards, which are designed to match an individual’s physical ability to their employment. Standards will not be lowered.
A front-footed approach, ensuring the right people are employed in the right role, will promote and reinforce Defence’s intent to create a modern, diverse and more effective organisation whilst implementing change responsibly.
The gradual roll-out of GCC roles becoming available to women began with the Royal Armoured Corps in late 2016.