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All is fair for seafarers

How fitting that in the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, the British Navy should admit its first ever women as submariners.

This was not only the first in which submarines were used by the British Navy, but the war also had a transformative impact on the role of women and how women viewed their own capabilities. Millions found themselves doing jobs previously reserved for men and after that, there was no going back. Women have pushed at every professional door ever since until it has opened to them.

A direct line can be traced from then to the Navy's acceptance this week of three female lieutenants into the Submarine Service. The move continues the process of opening up the armed forces to women. With training now due to start for female ratings, women are set to become a fixture as part of crews on submarines operating out of Faslane on the Clyde.

The submariners of a century ago, considered the Navy's elite, could scarcely have imagined that their great-granddaughters might follow in their footsteps. Some would have been shocked. Women have proved themselves in other areas of the armed forces, however, and will undoubtedly now do so in the Submarine Service.

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