Australia Military May Scrap All Gender Barriers

By: By Rod McGuirk Associated Press
By: By Rod McGuirk Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Women fight for militaries around the
world but rarely if ever are allowed to take the jobs most closely
associated with soldiering -- those focused on ground combat in
close quarters and even hand to hand.

That may be about to change in Australia.

A policy overhaul to be decided by Cabinet within weeks would remove all gender barriers from the military next year.

That would arguably make the Australian Defense Force the world's leader on gender equality.

Julia Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, is among
those calling for the change.

But questions remain about whether troops and the public are ready for women to serve in combat roles.

And an influential security think-tank warns that it could inflict heavy casualties on Australia's women warriors.

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