Melbourne, Aug 22(ANI): Putting behind the debate about whether women belong on the front lines or not, Australian women are moving closer to fighting alongside men.
In the coming years, it would be physical strength, which would determine who does what in the military, instead of the traditional gender.
Defence Personnel Minister Greg Combet has announced a new 2.5 million-dollar Centre of Expertise, involving the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the University of Wollongong, which in its first three years would assess physical requirements of army service.
"This work being undertaken will help further inform the Australian Defence Force (ADF) about the suitability of all people, regardless of gender, age or rank, to serve in positions throughout the ADF," The News.com.au quoted Combet, as saying.
"It is about better understanding what physical ability is required for these positions. The Government will consider the results upon completion," he added.
Currently, women comprise about 13 per cent of the ADF, with some already in combat roles where they can "kill at a distance".
Women are eligible to serve in 92 per cent of defence employment categories, but are still excluded from army roles where mortal combat could be expected daily, such as infantry, artillery and combat engineers.
Australian Defence Association (ADA) Executive Director Neil James said women were already on the front line where, occasionally, they could be required to kill enemy soldiers.
"But the reason why they are restricted from certain combat roles is because it would result in a disproportionate number of female casualties," he said. (ANI)