Defence Secretary pays tribute to female military personnel

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has paid tribute to Great Britain’s servicewomen in recognition of their many contributions to defence and security across the globe.

During a recent visit to RAF Brize Norton, Mr Williamson met the women at the frontline of Royal Air Force transport operations. Among them engineers, logisticians and a Voyager air to air refuelling and troop transport pilot.

Currently, women account for 10% of all UK military personnel and, with 14% female representation, the Royal Air Force is leading by example. In fact, research indicates that the number of UK women signing up with the Armed Forces is on the increase. Today more than 12% of new recruits are female, up 0.8% on the year previous.

In recognition, the Ministry of Defence has set itself a target of 15% by 2020. Meanwhile, 42% of MOD civil servants are also female.

“Women play a crucial role across our Armed Forces and it is important we reflect on the amazing contribution they make every single day keeping the British people safe,” said the Defence Secretary.

“It is vital that we have the very best people our society has to offer and that they also represent the society that they defend. Today has been a great opportunity to meet some of those inspiring women who make our Armed Forces the best in the world.”

Ove the past 12 months, female personnel have contributed to the defeat of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, delivered essential humanitarian aid to British Overseas Territories affected by Hurricane Irma and, most recently, helped to support snow relief in the UK. In December six army officers also become the first all-female group to cross Antarctica.

Elsewhere, the military plans to make its ground close combat roles available to women. Already, the Royal Tank Regiment has opened up its close combat ranks to women and last year the RAF became the first service to open up all of its trades and branches to female personnel. The RAF Regiment accepted its first female applications in September 2017.

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