Female Army recruits are more than twice as likely to suffer a training
injury now that they are expected to reach the same levels of fitness as men.
Research conducted by an Army occupational physician, Lt Col Ian Gemmell,
shows that women are up to eight times more likely to be discharged from duty
because they are injured through training.
Although recruits from both sexes have trained together for many years, the
Army had traditionally operated a gender-fair policy, where female recruits
were not expected to attain the same levels of physical fitness as their male
However, since 1998 the Army has had a gender-free programme, which means
that the same physical tests are applied to all soldiers.
The policy was introduced after it was discovered that some women were
unable to carry out certain duties after completing training.
The research reveals that since the introduction of the new training policy,
the number of discharged men remained below 1.5 per cent, but for women the
figures rose from 4.6 per cent to 11.1 per cent.
"H&S guidance has been overlooked in the interests of meeting equal
opportunity legislation," said Gemmell.