Inspiring Women Into Technology

A conference to inspire women to move up in their ranks was held at Swindon's Defence Academy on Tuesday...

Alongside men, women have served in almost 50 wars and conflicts, but their roles have been behind battle lines in the world of technology.

In honour of their work, the 'Women in Technology' conference was held in Swindon at the Defence Academy - with the aim of empowering women and highlighting opportunities to move up within their regiments.

But despite now having support systems in place, it hasn't always been easy for women in the Royal Signals.

Colonel Debs Douglas, who serves as a reservist within the Royal Signals, said women had a more difficult time when she joined:

"In those days, the women that joined had to have a technical degree - so I had to have an engineering degree to join whereas the men didn't."

She added: "But nowadays it's very fair and even."

Women in Tech conf

Women only make up 10% of the Army and 7% of the Royal Signals.

But Colonel Jason Gunning, of the Royal Signals, said they are trying to get their numbers up to 13%.

Col Gunning explained there is a recruitment issue across the Armed Forces and said one of the factors contributing to it focused on the way they left Afghanistan in 2014.

Forces News spoke with new recruits about what it is like to work in a male-dominated environment.

Lance Corporal Bregha Dargue, a communications systems engineer in 30 Signal Regiment, said:

"Out of all the jobs I've had, I think this is the one that promotes females more than anything.

"You don't feel negatively discriminated against at all - they really push for women in the Army."

Lance Corporal Nicola Wallace from, 16 Signal Regiment, echoed her colleague's comments:

"There's a lot more men but they don't treat you any different."

Women in Tech conf

The 'Women in Technology' saw over 200 soldiers attending.

Within the event, workshops were held on cybersecurity to diminish the stereotypes of personnel who join cyber technology.

Corporal Kim Sutherland, a Senior Security Analyst in 243 Signal Squadron, explained how getting people comfortable with 'Capture The Flag' (CTF), a cybersecurity challenge, will help change people's mindset on working in this field:

"The stereotypes of purely just being a coder when entering into our job role just isn't the reality.

"We're hoping that through the exposure of the CTF and walking people through, getting people more comfortable with these kinds of environments, and comfortable with working on their own and researching - it's going to help build our capability within the cyber domain."