In what may will see as a logical step towards greater equality between the sexes, women are to be allowed to apply to join the SAS.
Rather like recent press announcements about women being able to “join” the Gurkhas, the ability to apply does not mean someone will actually make the grade; many male applicants fail at some point -which is one reason why the SAS is such a well-regarded outfit. It is likely many women will also fall by the wayside, but those that do get through will have earned their place in the Regiment – no question.
Under the proposals, women who serve in an infantry unit will be allowed to apply for Selection after serving for three years. They will then go through the same tests as their male colleagues.
The Defence Secretary, when making his announcement, came up with the usual PC platitudes about “women leading the way in the armed forces for over 100 years” etc. One cannot help but wonder who writes his speeches; women have certainly served with distinction in many sectors of the armed forces, but are we now seriously deluding ourselves that they have “led the way” in all that time? Such silly statements merely serve to distract from the importance of the overall message which is that, if you are up to it, it does not much matter if you are a man or woman; you can now fight for your country.
A female reserve tank-gunner, when asked what she would say to those who are critical of women in the front line, replied:
“I wouldn’t say anything to them, I’d just prove them wrong.”