The Dutch Navy is allowing female sailors in its fleet of submarines after the successful completion of a test involving the participation of women.
NLTimes.nl quoted the government as saying in a statement that the women functioned as ‘one of the crew’ during the year-long experiment.
In the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN), sailing positions were open only to men as no separate facilities were offered onboard the existing submarines. Women failed to perform all functions in this Armed Forces’ Submarine Service.
NAVALNEWS quoted the Dutch Ministry of Defense as saying: “It was already certain that women would be admitted to the submarine service, but only then with the arrival of new ships equipped for mixed crews.
“The situation in (NATO) partner countries, however, showed that separate onboard facilities are not necessary and sometimes hinder integration.”
Based on a joint study carried out in Australia and Canada, it was found that strict separation in living areas, as well as sanitary facilities, had a negative impact on the integration of female crew members on board.
Following this, the navy decided to experiment with the ‘one of the crew’ concept. As part of this, no separate facilities were provided for women on board, and both women and men were treated equally.
Submarine Service group commander Captain Herman de Groot said that the test allowed the navy to be able to determine the rules of conduct that need to be introduced to enable women to participate in submarine services.
Only small adjustments were made to create more privacy for women.
AFP reported that a female student recently entered Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), which had previously only allowed men to serve on submarines.
The MSDF amended the rules in 2018 after assessing that gender-specific privacy needs can be met without major submarine remodelling.
After the restrictions were overturned, Saki Takenouchi entered the academy along with around 20 other men.