Research and analysis: Women in ground close combat roles review 2016

In 2014 the current Secretary of State for Defence welcomed the prospect of opening ground close combat (GCC) roles to women, which was reinforced by the Prime Minister in December 2015. However the Secretary of State noted that lifting the exclusion without conducting further research to understand the risks to servicewomen’s health could expose women to unnecessary risk. He directed research to understand the physical challenges and potential health risks to women in GCC roles. This work was to produce an interim health report in early 2016 to inform a final decision on lifting exclusions by mid 2016.

from Ministry of Defence – Activity on GOV.UK

Woman Combat British Army Afghanistan


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July 10, 2016 5:56 pm

I have been reading the ‘Women in Ground Close Combat (GCC) Review 2014″
In essence, it say’s that the evidence shows women are likely to experience damage to their physical and mental health, and cannot manage the same tasks as are expected of males in close combat situations, but the report concludes that there is bound to be a way around these problems. The report makes it clear that the overriding issue is gender equality, regardless of the risks. Apparently the aim is to have about 60 women serving in the infantry and RAF Regiment after 24 years.

July 11, 2016 12:12 am

How many women are capable of carrying a 6 foot 200 pound bloke, plus they’re kit and his kit on their shoulders whilst they are engaged in a firefight?

If they can’t do it, then they are taking the place of someone who could – and is therefore endangering her life, and her platoon member’s live’s.

I suspect there are very few women who can do this. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have the same issues of training standards as our friends from across the pond, just for some political agenda which is going to get soldier’s killed.

If women are going to be allowed on the front line, they should have the same standard of training and operational effectiveness as everyone else.

July 11, 2016 6:06 am

To be fair, the study seems to take a pretty cautious approach and stresses all the right risks IMO if the UK feels under pressure to move towards females in these roles for political rather than Op Effectiveness reasons. There is an irony I think that the potential downstream costs of claims for disability and injury from females in GCC roles could be used as a reason to prevent the policy being implemented….

Peter Elliott
July 11, 2016 8:15 am

Just because women are on average smaller and weaker doesn’t mean that individual women can’t meet the standard or be stronger than an average man. I’m thinking of Brienne of Tarth here or, more prosaically, certain female rugby players of my acquaintance.

Peter Elliott
July 11, 2016 8:18 am

Plus I’ve seen plenty of skinny, weedy looking male infantrymen and no-one bats an eyelid. And aren’t many of the special forces quite small in stature? Just incredibly skilled, wiry and with a high tolerance of pain…?

July 11, 2016 1:03 pm

Regarding female rugby players of your aquaintance, the relevant point is that female rugby players play in women’s rugby teams against other women’s rugby teams. Woman golfers and tennis players and boxers compete against other women.

Peter Elliott
July 11, 2016 1:20 pm

Since you mention the tennis they do play mixed doubles. And the women do perfectly well becuase they are elite athletes with high skill levels. Would you ban mixed doubles…? And I’d like to see you play tennis against any of the Women in the singles draw not just Venus and Serena. You’d be a defeated, quivvering wreck inside an hour.

Infantry combat isn’t a mud wrestling contest either. You use weapons. So it is ability to use the weapons and carry the loads that counts. Not top trumps mano-a-mano matchup against the opposition infantry(man). As the unfortunate redcaps found out in Iraq once you ammunition is gone and you’re reduced to bayonet fighting it really is game over.

July 11, 2016 6:37 pm

The Israelis and Kurds seem to do well with women in combat roles.