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Army must be a level playing field

THE opening of further front line combat roles to women in the Army is a welcome step forward against arbitrary discrimination.

The load which can be backpacked varies greatly from man to man and from woman to woman. Numerous conflicts have demonstrated that even a relatively low limit does not necessarily render a person militarily ineffective.

Mixing within the infantry may even have some impact on a culture of chauvinism which can make it difficult for ex-soldiers to reintegrate within modern civilian social and family life.

Some of the greatest progress towards gender equality was made in response to women's contributions in each of the two world wars - wars in which the burden of being killed, or maimed, in action continued to fall, overwhelmingly, upon men.

How long a period of equality would it take before men will no longer accept this as their natural lot?

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