Don’t say Rifleman, it is ‘too gender specific’: Army officers told to refer to combat soldiers as ‘infanteers’ despite no women asking to join units
- Instructions in policy document tells top brass to use the term ‘infantry soldier’
- Any military training manuals that use gender-specific language to be pulped
- However, none of 9,000 females in Army has asked to transfer to a combat unit
Senior Army officers have been ordered to refer to infantrymen as ‘infanteers’ or ‘infantry soldiers’ to avoid offending women – despite not a single female expressing interest in joining a combat unit.
The instructions, detailed in a policy document seen by The Mail on Sunday, also tells top brass to use ‘infantry soldier’ instead of rifleman and ‘mortar operator’ rather than mortarman.
They add that any military training manuals that use gender-specific language will have to be pulped.
Senior Army officers have been ordered to refer to infantrymen as ‘infanteers’ or ‘infantry soldiers’ to avoid offending women
The orders follow the announcement by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson earlier this year that women will be allowed to join infantry regiments and Special Forces units.
However, none of the 9,000 females in the Army has asked to transfer to a combat unit.
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The cash-strapped Ministry of Defence has lavished millions of pounds on TV recruitment campaigns intended to boost the number of women and ethnic minorities in the Army, as well as building separate female accommodation blocks.
One officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘We’ve paid for adverts, built new barrack blocks and even changed how we are supposed to speak and what we read. But the truth is that at officer level and among women already serving, they’re simply not interested in joining the infantry.
The orders follow the announcement by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson earlier this year that women will be allowed to join infantry regiments and Special Forces units
‘If would-be female infanteers existed in the Army, they would have come across by now.
‘We have to hope that the recruiters have better luck finding women from outside the Armed Forces to join the infantry. If they don’t, it will seem like we’ve gone to a lot of trouble for not much of a result.’
The non-gender specific terminology will come into effect immediately at the Infantry Battle School (IBS) in Brecon, Mid-Wales, despite no women being scheduled to take part in any courses there.
The Doctrine and Concepts policy document reads: ‘Gender specific terms are to be removed from all doctrine, policy, orders and instructions at the SCHINF [School of Infantry] and their use discouraged.
‘The IBS is to ensure gender specific terms are removed from the next edition of Infantry Platoon Tactics and the Brecon Battle Book.’
A spokesman for the MoD last night confirmed the changes, but said they would not apply to historic gender-specific ranks such as guardsman.
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