US servicewomen challenge combat role ban

ACLU lawyer Ariela Migdal speaks during a press conference with plaintiffs seeking to overturn a ban on women serving in most combat positions,  27 November 2012 The ACLU and the plaintiffs said steps already taken by the Pentagon did not go far enough

Related Stories

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a challenge on behalf of four US servicewomen against a ban on women being deployed in most combat roles.

The lawsuit filed in a federal court in San Francisco argues that the policy is unconstitutional.

Women can serve in front line positions in the US military, but they are barred from ground combat units.

A Pentagon spokesman said 14,500 combat positions had been opened to women under the current defence secretary.

He added that Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had "directed the services to explore the possibility of opening additional roles for women in the military".

But ACLU lawyer Ariela Migdal said the changes so far were "not enough". The lawsuit argues that continuing restrictions violate servicewomen's constitutional rights to equality.

One of the plaintiffs, Marine Corps Capt Zoe Bedell, said existing rules had blocked her advancement in the Marines.

"The military is the last place where you are allowed to be discriminated against because of your gender," she said.

Women account for about 14% of the 1.4 million active US military personnel.

The lawsuit launched on Tuesday says they are barred from 238,000 positions, but also alleges that they are already serving unofficially in combat units.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage


  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world


  • Jon Sopel'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead


  • Beauty contestants use selfie stick7 days quiz

    Who hasn't banned selfie sticks yet?


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show

Programmes

  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.