Australia Allows Women To Serve In Frontline Combat
They grow us pretty tough over in Australia, and now the government’s putting this to the test as the country’s women soldiers will soon be able to serve in all frontline combat roles.
According to the New York Times, this makes Australia just the fourth country in the world (after Canada, New Zealand and Israel) to allow females to serve alongside men in some of the most dangerous roles in modern warfare, including special forces units in Afghanistan.
“We have an Australian Army that’s been going for 110 years, an Australian Navy that’s been going formally for 100 years, and an Australian Air Force that’s been going for 90 years, and last night, we resolved to remove the final restrictions on the capacity of women to serve in frontline combat roles,” Defense Minister Stephen Smith said in the capital, Canberra. “In the future, your role in the defense force will be determined on your ability, not on the basis of your sex.”
Women already play a significant role in the Australian military, which sent more than 2,000 troops to fight in Iraq and currently makes up the largest contingent of any non-NATO member fighting in Afghanistan. As of August, 335 women were serving on overseas operations, accounting for more than 10 percent of Australia’s fighting forces deployed overseas, according to the military.
Women make up 14 percent of the United States armed forces, yet they are barred from serving in certain combat roles, including in the infantry and special forces, a sore point for many female soldiers who are often attached to combat units in noncombat roles.