Vive les Differences !
Most submariners know that France recently approved allowing women to serve aboard its nuclear subs, catching up to the United States and the United Kingdom which years ago (2010 and 2011, respectively) permitted mixed crews.
What are Differences? France Acknowledges the obvious:
Excerpted from France's 16 Apr 2014 The Local
- Women in navies around the world, France included, have been barred from serving on nuclear subs due to concerns over sex and close quarters during the lengthy missions.
- A new larger class of submarine in France made it possible for separate male and female quarters in the cramped space aboard the vessels. Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian plans to provide separate toilets and living quarters to discourage promiscuity (at least, in the army).
- French authorities had also admitted a difference in women’s physical capacities, questioning their ability to handle higher levels of carbon dioxide during underwater missions.
- Finally, unlike the U.S. program counterpart, France's program is not open-ended to accept all qualified women who may wish to apply. Though the door is now open to women, "the pool of candidates is expected to remain small."