In the UK, women are excluded from ground combat roles and other specific close quarter specialities. There have been two assessments of this position by the Ministry of Defence (2002 and 2010) with both concluding that the restriction should remain but with different rationales supplied for the retention. Indeed the 2010 assessment, based on combat effectiveness, was unsupported by the evidence presented from interviews with combat personnel. Based on independent research carried out in two studies of 1994-2000 and 2010 involving interviews with junior Army personnel on their attitudes, expectations and assumptions, and the interview evidence from the 2010 assessment, this paper will examine the changing cultural perceptions of serving personnel towards the acceptance of women in previously all-male roles and the implications for the legal position of the exclusion of women from those roles on the basis of combat effectiveness. The paper will make recommendations on the basis of the findings for any change in MoD policy towards women serving in the armed forces.
Ball, R. (2013, October). Embracing the women: A longitudinal view of attitudes to women service personnel among their peers, 1994 and 2010. Paper presented at IUS Chicago 2013