Highlights from equality and diversity news from last week: US lifts ban on women in combat roles, UK suicide rates highest for middle age men, women researchers more likely to carry out collaborative research, and the need for police forces to positively discriminate in favour of BME officers.

One of the biggest news from last week was the lifting of the ban on women in combat roles in US military. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged a complaint frequently voiced by women denied combat roles – that military careers are hindered by a lack of combat experience. President Obama endorsed the move.

Recently released statistics about suicide rates in the UK have once again underlined the fact that this is a gender issue. The suicide rate is highest among men between 30 and 44 years of age. The rate has also been on the increase because of economic downturn in the country, according to research at the University of Liverpool. There were 4,552 male suicides as compared to 1,493 female suicides in 2011. The question as to why more men commit suicide has several tentative answers, an important one being that men, because of how society expects them to behave, are less likely to seek help.

A small research study suggests that women researchers are more likely to collaborate than men. Out of the random sample for study, women constituted 40% of the academics, but contributed to 55% of co-authored papers. Analysis also suggests that women are more likely to write with other women and men with other men.

Sir Peter Fahy, the lead spokesperson on workforce development for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), has said that police forces should positively discriminate in favour of black and ethnic minority (BME) officers in the face of a growing diversity crisis. Only six police chiefs are BME, representing a total of 3% of all chiefs. Further, there are currently no BME officers on the strategic command course – for middle-ranking officers seeking promotion to chief officer rank.

Have anything to add? Write to us at Equality.and.Diversity@lse.ac.uk.