Gavin Williamson throws special forces roles open to women in military personnel shake-up

Posted On: 
25th October 2018

Women will be allowed to join the UK special forces after Gavin Williamson announced all defence roles will be open to both genders for the first time.

Gavin Williamson made the announcement during a training demo today
PA Images

The Defence Secretary said jobs in the military would be “determined by ability alone and not gender”.

It means women serving in the army will be free to apply for infantry roles from today, such as the SAS and SBS, while new recruits will be able to apply from December.

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Speaking at a military demonstration on Salisbury Plain, Mr Williamson said:  “Women have led the way with exemplary service in the armed forces for over 100 years, working in a variety of specialist and vital roles.

“So I am delighted that from today, for the first time in its history, our armed forces will be determined by ability alone and not gender.

“Opening all combat roles to women will not only make the armed forces a more modern employer but will ensure we recruit the right person for the right role.”

Women have been allowed to serve in close combat roles since a ban was lifted in 2016, but have been barred from infantry units.

Mr Williamson also confirmed that women are now able to apply for the Royal Marines, with all female hopefuls for all roles expected to pass the same fitness tests as male recruits.