§ Mr. Keetch
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which posts in the Infantry and Royal Armoured Corps women are excluded from; and by what criteria his Department makes decisions as to which posts are open only to men. 
§ Mr. Spellar
All cap-badged posts in the Regular Infantry and Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps are presently closed to women, on the ground of combat effectiveness. Women can, however, serve in all deployable posts that are attached to Regular Infantry and Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps units (for example, as a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers cap-badged Light Aid Detachment). The Government are wholly committed to maximising employment opportunities for women in the Armed Forces, 175W and to this end the Army is currently conducting a study into the effects of gender upon combat effectiveness, which is due to report to Ministers in 2001.