Australia to end ban on women in combat

By REUTERS
September 27, 2011 06:11

 
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CANBERRA - Australian women will be allowed to serve in frontline combat roles, including as special forces soldiers in Afghanistan, after the government said on Tuesday it was dropping all gender restrictions for the military.

Australia, a close US ally, will become the fourth country after Canada, New Zealand and Israel to open all combat roles to female soldiers who pass physical entry tests, Defence Minister Stephen Smith said.

"Once this is fully implemented there will be no restrictions. If a woman is fully capable of doing the entrance program for the Special Air Service or Commandos, they'll be in it," Smith told reporters.

Australia currently allows women to serve in the vast majority of jobs in the 59,000-strong military, including on submarines and as air force jet fighter pilots.

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