Women expected to turn out in force

Men will be outnumbered by women in the armed forces within
30 years, according to junior defence minister Baroness Symons.

Symons was reported as saying she was optimistic that by
2030 more than 50 per cent of all service personnel would be women.

The current figure stands at 7 per cent out of the 200,000
personnel in the Army, Royal Navy and Air Force.

But that figure could increase rapidly if a combat effectiveness
gender study, which is looking at whether women are capable of close-quarters
combat, gives the green light.

Major Sean Tully, a spokesman for the armed forces, said the
results of the study would be known by the middle of this year.

He said, "It is looking at whether females can take
part in close-quarters combat, whether they can get close to and kill the
enemy."

By Ben Willmott

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