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Female Submariners

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government's policy is on female submariners; for what reasons females may not serve in submarines; and if he will make a statement. [118190]

Women are excluded from service in submarines because no assurance can be given regarding the safety of a foetus due to the presence of contaminants which build up in the atmosphere of a submarine. The medical evidence on this issue is kept under review, most recently by the Defence Scientific Advisory Counsel and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the summer of 2001. At present, there are no plans to change the policy of excluding women from the submarine service.