I doubt Sir Winston would be entirely keen on the proposal to open up combat roles to women in our armed forces. But he would not be surprised it has come to this, as this excerpt from a Strand magazine article in 1938 hints:
We take the immunity of women from violence so much for granted that we do not perceive what inroads are being made upon it. These inroads come from opposite quarters. The first is the feminist movement, which claims equal rights for women, and in its course prides itself in stripping them of their privileges. Secondly, the mud-rush of barbarism which is breaking out in so many parts of the world owns no principle but that of lethal force. Thus we see both progressive and reactionary forces luring women nearer to danger, and exposing them to the retaliation of the enemy. . .
The part which our women played in winning the War was enshrined in the grant of them to vote which for so many years they had vainly sought to wrest from successive Governments by methods too often suggesting that they had not the civic sense to use the privilege rightly. It was the War which solved that problem, as it solved so many others in our internal affairs. . .
On the other hand, even in the last war there were many things that women could do apart from killing which added to the fighting power of the army. There were innumerable duties of all kinds behind the front which brought them ever nearer to the line and into danger. We must expect that this will continue to develop in a war for the future.
I have neglected to mention for a while that most of the Weekly Winston entries are drawn from Richard Langworth’s indispensible collection, Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations. A required reference for all serious Churchillians.