Women in the British army fighting on the front line? Wrong move, Mr Hammond

The defence secretary says women can go into combat. I’m no sexist, but I disagree

Defence secretary Philip Hammond has indicated that females in the British army will be able to serve in direct combat for the first time, and not just in roles on the front line, as already happens. Hammond says that other countries have women in combat roles, and that the issue should be about fitness, not gender. Hammond says that he does not want to send out the message that the army is not fully open to women who meet the same fitness criteria as men. So, that’s the political correctness box nicely ticked but should it be? Should concern about women in combat roles automatically be written off as sexism or chauvinism?

This is not an attack on female army personnel only a fool would have anything but the deepest respect for the courage and professionalism of anyone (male or female) serving on the front line. It’s also worth noting that promotion to the highest levels can be barred to women who’ve not undertaken combat duty. Indeed, if I balk at the idea of women in combat, it’s not because I think that women would be hopeless, over-promoted, tokenistic cry-babies, who would need to be protected girlie Private Benjamins, who’d spend all their time “distracting” their male counterparts with their hair flicking, pouting, lipstick applying and flaunting of secondary sexual organs.

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