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Women in the Military: British Women To Serve On Front Lines, American Women’s Fitness Standards Raised

Britain’s women soldiers will now be allowed to have certain jobs on the front lines, Defense Secretary George Robertson said. Seventy percent of jobs will now be opened to women, up from 47% previously. New job opportunities include forward radio operators, combat engineers and artillery gunners.

“If we are to properly modernize our armed forces, we must also bring our personnel policies up to date. The armed forces must represent the society they defend if they are not to become isolated from it,” said Robertson.

Women comprise about 6.3% of the British Army. Robertson has also launched a study into whether or not women should be allowed to fight in combat.

In another military policy decision, the U.S. Army announced it will raise the minimum physical fitness standards for women in order to reflect the better athletic performances of women today.

Men’s requirements will not change, but the increased minimums for women will bring the different requirements closer together. For example, both sexes will be required to do the same number of push-ups and sit-ups in two minutes.

Sources:

Reuters - October 24 and 28, 1997

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