History has been made by two women, Private Chelsey Munday and Private Taylor Lewis, as they passed the Army’s grueling six-month infantry training course, which makes them the first British female soldiers to do so.
In a very significant milestone for gender equality, the two women passed at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) at Catterick, North Yorkshire, and will now join their respective regiments.
The former head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, led the praise for the two ladies and he urged their male counterparts to be “broad-minded enough” and welcome their new colleagues.
The women defied experts who argued that women are “too weak to withstand the course” after they completed the same arduous training program as their male counterparts. Recruits have to carry packs weighing 55lb on exhausting marches, over very rough terrain, and also take assault courses and realistic military exercises.
Most trainees are forced to leave the ITC because of injuries or because they find it too tough, but not these two strong women.
Women had been barred from serving in the frontline military units for hundreds of years, and it wasn’t until the ban was lifted in 2016.
Many critics claimed that women should never serve in dedicated combat roles, but we now have a first-hand example that challenges that notion.
The 26-year-old Munday described the ceremony marking her graduation from the ITC as “the proudest moment of her entire life”, and she will join the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR).
The 19-year-old Lewis will join the Rifles Regiment.