Sunday, 5 December 2010
Women on UK subs - finally. Maybe.
The UK navy is one of the last navies to allow women on submarines. But it looks like it could happen next year following a study by the Institute of Naval Medicine, it was announced on Dec 5.
See, for example, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/defence/8182239/Wrens-could-serve-on-submarines-for-first-time.html
About time too!See my blogs of Aug 6 and May 30 this year, and June 11 and Sept 15 in 2009.
The stated - and implausible - reason for women's exclusion was formerly that there was a risk to female or foetal health from the radiation on nuclear subs. The build-up of contaminants could exceed levels safe for a foetus, and women in the initial stage of pregnancy might not know they were expecting, the argument went.(Navy News, 29.4.99.)
A solution of course, was to only employ women who were not heterosexually active to work on submarines. This didn't happen. Which made many observers think that health was only an excuse, and that sexism was the real reason. Men couldn't cope with women on subs.
But now, perhaps it's been noticed that women submariners in other countries have been perfectly well for a long time.
The list of precedents is:
South Africa 2007
Anyway the Institute has decided the risk does not exist. So the Ministry of Defence is now reviewing the decision and the green light might go on next year.
The other problem - fear of hotbeding causing immorality - is to be resolved by having separate beds for women and men. Wow, rocket science!
Could this concession be anything to do with difficulties in getting crews? As in both world wars, women were suddenly deemed fit for some jobs when there was a shortage of men to do that work.
Yes, I am suggesting there is hypocrisy in operation. And it's fascinating to see the fears of trouble, marriage break-up,etc that men are already posting on websites today.