Women

International Women's Day: Female Soldiers Share Army Experiences

As the world marks International Women's Day, two female soldiers have shared what it is like to serve as a woman in the British Army.

To mark International Women's Day, Forces News has spoken to several female personnel - discussing their careers now and how they compare to past experiences in and outside of the military.

Here, two soldiers have chosen some highlights from their time in the British Army, and what joining up has meant to them...

Lance Sergeant 'Cas' Cassandra is a military personnel administrator for the Household Cavalry, which she described as "the best unit" she has been part of.

"I'm in charge of the soldiers' pay, administrating them, their personal details – mostly contact details, deployable documents and so forth, to make sure that they're always ready to go," she said.

"As a member of the Staff and Personnel Support branch, that means we're attached arms. So we move around the world and the UK to static units."

Moving every two to three years fits LSgt Cassandra's ambition to explore, which saw her travel the globe in 2014.

"As a civilian, the majority of your wages are eaten up by housing and rent expenses whereas, in the Army, the most I've ever paid for my rent a month is £50," she said.

"You don't have to worry about the boiler breaking down or anything like that, so I'm able to save quite a substantial amount to go travelling."

LSgt Cassandra is also learning how to ride a horse with the Army, a passion which could see her join the cavalry on parade.

WATCH: Lance Bombardier Fiona Dunbar speaks to Forces News. 

Another female servicewoman who has plenty of experience with horses is Lance Bombardier Fiona Dunbar.

LBdr Dunbar works with the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery - the Queen’s primary salute and battery - marking state visits, royal births and funerals.

"My job role is to maintain and look after all the harness and kit which go on to the horses for ceremonial parades," she said.

LBdr Dunbar joined the Army in August 2011 and the King's Troop in May 2012.

"I was one of four female soldiers within my sub-section," she said.

"I felt like I had to compete, and I had to prove to the boys that I could basically do the job. I did, and I actually earned their respect and they kind of took me under their wing as if I was one of the blokes."

She said the situation facing women entering the unit now is "very different", with many more females joining.

Approaching a decade with the service, LBdr Dunbar said her Army highlights have included deployment alongside the police on Downing Street during Operation Temperer due to high terror threat levels.

Pictured on the streets of London alongside armed police, she said her mission helped to build a "reputation" for females in security roles.

Further deployment during the 2012 Olympics alongside the Irish Guards, participation in multiple horse displays and a brief interaction with the Queen on Her Majesty's 70th birthday also made the cut.

"That's probably the biggest highlight of my career – actually meeting, essentially, my boss."