BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 02:20 GMT
Women soldiers 'face frontline ban'
Women soldiers
Many women want to be able to fight
Female soldiers will not be allowed to fight in the frontline after a study found they were not physically capable, it has been reported.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon will make the announcement in the next fortnight, according to the Independent newspaper.

Many ministers and activists want women soldiers to be eligible for frontline duty, with others believing the current ban breaches the Human Rights Act.

But a Ministry of Defence report, entitled Combat Effectiveness Gender Study, has found fewer than 2% of female soldiers are as fit as the average male soldier, the newspaper says.

The study also suggests women are up to eight times more likely to be injured.

'Barred from units'

The MoD is already facing a number of compensation claims from women who were injured during "unisex" basic training, introduced four years ago.

The paper says Mr Hoon's decision would mean women could keep serving in units in wartime as long as they did not risk close combat.

This will bar them from special forces, commando units and armoured regiments.

The Independent says the report was based on an "exhaustive" series of tests.

Soldiers under 30 had to carry 20kg of equipment and their rifle while running a mile and a half in 15 minutes, as well as carrying a colleague for 50 yards.

Not one of the female soldiers were able to complete this task, the newspaper reports.

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories