The United Kingdom has officially opened up all military roles for women, allowing female soldiers to join elite units such as the Special Air Service or the Royal Marines for the first time. Britain had first announced that it would be opening up all combat roles to women in 2016, but had gone about the process in phases, culminating in the decision to allow women to join the military’s most elite combat units.
Speaking at an army demonstration at Salisbury Plain on Thursday, Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson hailed the historic move, adding that servicewomen would be allowed to transfer into the newly available roles immediately if they so choose. New recruits will be able to apply for positions in units such as the Royal Marines from December onward, with basic training beginning in April next year.
“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,” said Williamson, noting that some of the first women to join the Royal Armoured Corps were in attendance. An estimated 35 women have joined the Royal Armoured Corps since the unit became the first close combat branch to be opened to women in November 2016.
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