In the line of fire article

I saw this article today whilst sitting in a hospital waiting room. I thought it might be of interest to a wider audience and generate some debate. I thought of putting it on the infantry forum, but then it wouldn't be a debate :D

In the line of fire, The Times Magazine 11 Aug 07

From The Times, August 11, 2007

In the line of fire
While officially barred from ground combat, female soldiers in the Middle East now serve perilously close to the action

by Catherine Philp
Georgina Bell had just joined the Army when she met her husband-to-be in a bar in Doncaster. He was in the infantry, newly returned from Afghanistan. When she told him what she did, he didn’t believe her. “When I’m at home, I’m quite feminine. I like wearing make-up and doing my hair.” When she joined up, the Army first steered her towards a technical job, but she ended up plumping for the artillery, and was sent to Iraq in May this year, like Claire Stevenson, in an infantry role of the kind officially barred to women. “You see more action in the artillery,” she says. “It’s one of the only places you can go to the front line.”

Bell admits she would quite like to ditch her more background duties and “get on with the job” by becoming a full combat soldier in the infantry. It irritates her that women are barred. She scoffs at the reasons given in the Ministry of Defence’s 2002 research paper that upheld the bar on women in close combat, one being, in the words of Admiral Boyce, that the aggression required to kill the enemy was not a “natural female trait”.

“I would disagree with that,” says Bell. “There are men who aren’t aggressive enough to kill, but they’re not turned away from the infantry.”