Women

Army Servicewomen's Network Conference: Inspiring And Supporting Military Women

Women attending the event were told the Army is a place where decisions are made based on ability alone, not gender.

Women have been told to go for all roles within the Armed Forces, without barriers to what they might achieve.

Personnel from across the country gathered for the Army Servicewomen's Network Conference at Sandhurst.

During the event, keynote speakers aimed to inspire and support women serving in the military.

Those attending were told the Army is a place where they can compete for the same roles as men and where decisions are made based on their ability alone, not their gender.

Army Servicewomen networking at conference 040320 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
At the event women had the chance to network and hear inspiring testimonies.

Sergeant Charlotte Spence of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps was among them.

"After I had my baby I decided I needed to get fit, I was going back to work and the best way to do it was training for the marathon and give myself three months to do it in," she said.

Sergeant Spence is now the number two CrossFit competitor in the UK and 75th in the world.

"Anyone can achieve anything.

"I compete at a high level, but I want to say there is nothing special about what I do that, actually with a little bit of dedication, we are all capable of pretty much anything," she added.

Attendees at Army Servicewomen Conference 040320 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
There have been positive changes in the military for women and the roles they can have.

There have been some positive changes along the way for women in the military in recent years.

In 2018, a move opened up all military roles to women, including frontline infantry ones.

Captain Rosie Wild recently marked another milestone for women in the military, passing the gruelling Parachute Regiment selection course, known as P Company, for the first time.

When passing out at Sandhurst, she was awarded the Sword of Honour by the Duchess of Cornwall after being considered the best overall cadet.

Speakers at Army Servicewomen Conference 040320 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Keynote speakers attended the event and delivered inspiring speeches to the audience.

The new opportunities for women in the military were embraced at the event, but many agreed there is still work to be done.

"I think challenges will be the retention of women, making them feel important especially as they leave for maternity reasons," said Second Lieutenant Aoife McShane.

Captain Siobhan Davis raised concerns about serving couples and military couples where one of them is away operationally, saying at least one of them should be "supported in not going away and not being deployed".

The event, which is in its fifth year, coincides with International Women’s Day on Sunday, which celebrates and recognises the achievements of women all over the world.