Just 50 out of 18,000 infantry are female

The Army’s drive for more women in the ranks has been a ‘costly, futile exercise in political correctness’ as just 50 out of 18,000 infantry are female

  • Only 50 women have joined the infantry and 30 the Royal Armoured Corps
  • Fewer than five trained females had opted to transfer into frontline fighting roles
  • READ MORE: British Army is no longer capable of fighting a war on its own

The Army’s push to recruit women for frontline combat roles has failed spectacularly, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Only 50 women have joined the infantry and 30 the Royal Armoured Corps in the five years since the then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that all positions within the Army – including ‘close combat units’ and the SAS – would be opened up to women.

The figures, obtained using Freedom of Information laws, also revealed that fewer than five trained female soldiers had opted to transfer into frontline fighting roles from other Army units and no female recruits passed Royal Marine training.

One former defence chief accused the Ministry of Defence of a ‘failed publicity stunt’, while another commander warned women may have been put off following a number of rape and sex abuse scandals.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former infantry commander in Afghanistan, said: ‘It is no surprise very few women want to volunteer to serve as tank crews or in the infantry. After drop-outs and test failures, the numbers will be negligible.

Only 50 women have joined the infantry and 30 the Royal Armoured Corps in the five years since the then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that all positions within the Army would be opened up to women (stock image)

Figures obtained by this newspaper reveal that out of 18,000 infantry soldiers, just 50 are women (stock image)

‘Having a tiny minority of women serving in what will remain pretty much all-male units will be counter-productive and harmful to morale and combat effectiveness. It will turn out to be a very costly, damaging and futile exercise in political correctness – funded by the taxpayer. The Army did not want this, but it was forced on them.’

Figures obtained by this newspaper reveal that out of 18,000 infantry soldiers, just 50 are women. Of around 5,000 soldiers in the Royal Armoured Corps, 30 are female.

Mr Williamson boasted in 2018 that allowing women to serve in frontline roles would ‘maximise the talents available to our military and further make the Armed Forces a more modern employer’.

But since then the military has been rocked by a number of sexism scandals. In 2021, a parliamentary report found that two-thirds of women in the military experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination during their career.

Colonel Philip Ingram, a former military intelligence officer, said: ‘Few women are joining the infantry and RAC because of fears that they face sexual harassment and discrimination. The negative publicity around the way women are treated, combined with the anecdotal stories about what life is really like will put women off.’

An Army spokesman said: ‘We’re proud that the opportunities available to women in the Army are the same as that for men.

‘We work hard to ensure they have thriving careers.’

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