Britain’s military is now 10.1 percent female, according to figures released by the Ministry of Defence today.
While the UK’s military has seen a rise in female participation from just 5.7 percent in 1997 to almost double as of January this year, the percentage of women in the UK military still lags behind that of the United States (14.6 percent in 2013), the Australian Defence Force (around 14 percent), and the Israel Defence Force (33 percent).
The figures were released as part of a Freedom of Information request which also broke down the overall number by service. The British Army is 9.1 percent female, the Navy is 9.3 percent female, and the Royal Air Force is 13.9 percent female.
In 2008 a British Ministry of Defence spokesperson noted: “Women can be employed anywhere and are involved in every operation currently going on. What we often see is a misconception that women can’t do frontline roles. They can. What they can’t do, and it’s a military phrase, is any specialisation where ‘the primary duty is to close with or kill the enemy’. That effectively means close combat, hand-to-hand even, or other very close forms of fighting.”
The total number of personnel counted was 199,620.