Armed Forces aims for 30% female recruits by 2030

The Women in Defence Charter launched a new strategy at the DSEI exhibition in London.

The Armed Forces should have women making up 30% of its entry level recruitment by 2030, a campaign to improve gender balance in defence has pledged.

The Women in Defence Charter launched a new strategy at the DSEI exhibition in London to have 30% employment of women in the forces and defence industry by 2030.

But because the forces cannot recruit at different seniorities, their target is being set for entry level only.

Morag Stuart, of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), said: "Today it's 12% female entry. Things are starting to change and it has to: diversity is a matter of national security."

She picked out the RAF for praise because, currently, 18% of its recruits are women.

Ms Stuart, who is the gender champion for the MOD, said the forces could use role models to attract young women to the services.

"You have to demonstrate what you can achieve with a career in defence and a focus on gender and diversity can have a huge impact. All the Armed Forces are really leaning forward into that."

More than 50 employers in the defence sector, including the MOD, have signed up to the charter.

WATCH: Women in defence – group reflects on progress and where the military can improve.

The team behind it says the industry can hit the target by deploying a number of initiatives including mentoring schemes and flexible working.

Sir Simon Bollom, CEO of DE&S, the MOD's procurement operation, said encouraging women to stay on in the military is a harder task.

Air Marshal Bollom said: "Flexible working becomes an issue in the military, but I'm confident in five years' time you'll see a much better gender balance."