Women in America will now be able to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers as the US military has decided to open up all positions including frontline combat roles for them, a move hailed by US President Barack Obama as a “historic step forward”.
“We cannot afford to cut ourselves off from half the country’s talents and skills. We have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our standards,” Defence Secretary Ashton Carter announced at a Pentagon news conference yesterday.
Over the years, in particular during the last seven years of Obama Administration, armed forces have gradually opened up for women. However, approximately 10 per cent of positions in the military currently remain closed to women, including infantry, armour, reconnaissance and some special operations units.
“Today, I’m announcing my decision not to make continued exceptions, that is, to proceed with opening all these remaining occupations and positions to women. There will be no exceptions. This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before,” Carter said.