Women

'I'm Excited For My Daughters': Army Servicewomen Celebrated At Event

Inspirational women shared their experiences in the military.

More than 600 people turned out to an event that looks to support, inspire and develop Army Servicewomen.

The Army Servicewomen's Network Conference welcomed both regular and reserve personnel as well as civil servants.

During the conference, soldiers, men and women gathered to listen to keynote speakers who shared their experiences.

Among them was Michelle Partlington, who was the first female Royal Air Force paramedic to work on the Afghan frontline.

Last year she won the woman of the year award and competed in the Invictus Games just the year before in 2017 in Toronto - despite suffering from PTSD. 

Speaking at the conference she said:

"It isn't about the fall, it's about bouncing back and we can all bounce back."

The former medic told Forces News that "so many women are not in the right jobs because they haven't been given the opportunity".

She continued: "I think it's so vital that women should be able to be who they want to be, where they want to work - regardless of gender."

LISTEN: Michelle Partlington speaks to Forces Radio BFBS' Jess Bracey about being the first female RAF paramedic on the frontline in Afghanistan

The network aims to support women and following the announcement in October that all roles in the military are now open to them, it looks to ensure the positive attitude towards women continues.

Corporal Jessica Treharne from 4 Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps said the conference was an opportunity for them to meet other servicewomen.

"I think specifically for myself in a corps - where females are very much a minority there's less than 100 of us across the corps, things like this are a real chance for us to gather together.

"I actually don't have an awful lot of contact with the females in that sense. 

"We meet them through sports in the Engineers but other than that this is a massive opportunity for me to meet other people of other ranks."

Sapper Molly Tombs, from 28 Engineer Regiment explained how the Army has developed the roles of women.

"Going back to when I first joined the Army it was a case of we never had the opportunity, you just had to sit back an let the males progress on."

She added: "Whereas now, because it's so equal, regardless of your gender you can go an achieve."

Ice Maidens 2017 Credit Army
Jennifer Stephenson trekked 1,000 miles across Antarctica in 2017 (Picture: British Army).

Also at the event was Jennifer Stephenson, who was part of a group of six women called the Ice Maidens.

Last year they became the first female team to complete a 1,000-mile expedition across Antartica on foot.

She hoped to encourage other women that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.

"I've always said that if that expedition inspires at least one person, male or female, to go and do something outside their comfort zone - then that's a success for that exhibition."

The event was held to recognise the achievements of women and coincides with Internation Women's Day which takes place on Friday.

LISTEN: Lt Stephenson speaks to Forces Radio BFBS' Jess Bracey about being part of the first all-female team to cross the Antartic with muscle power only
Picture: Cpl Timothy Jones RLC / Crown Copyright 2016