It's A Mum's Life: Highlighting The Role Of Women In The Army To Children

A new book which aims to challenge the perceptions amongst schoolchildren about women in the military was launched on Tuesday.

In the run-up to International Women's Day, both schoolchildren and service personnel attended the launch at the National Army Museum.

'My Mummy Is A Soldier' is a book that tells the story of a mother in the Army and what her job entails.

It is part of a series of books written to raise awareness of careers amongst children from a young age.

It further aims to address the unconscious bias about gender and what professions entail.

My Mummy Is A Soldier Book launch 050319 Credit BFBS
Children as well as service men and women attended the book launch.

Tobias Ellwood MP, the Defence Minister for Defence People and Veterans, attended the launch.

Speaking at the event, Mr Ellwood said:

"There is still more work that needs to be done to provide parity between men and women."

He continued to say that it is something they "want to happen in the Armed Forces as well."

In October, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that all military roles were now open to women.

Mr Ellwood said that he was "really pleased that all jobs are now open to men and women."

He added: "It's important for youngsters to understand, particularly, the fact that this is actually possible and what better way to do that than with a book called 'My Mummy Is A Soldier'."

My Mummy Is A Soldier Kerrine Bryan Author 050319 Credit BFBS
Author Kerrine Bryan hopes to provide the books to primary schools.

Also at the event was Brigadier Sara Sharkey. She said much has changed for mothers serving since she first joined over 20 years ago:

"For me, I've been in the Army for 28 years and it's changed in two significant ways.

"Policy's changed on the things you can and can't do, so for me when I joined I had to leave if I got pregnant."

Brig Sharkey said the attitudes to men and women have changed in the Army:

"The policies on maternity leave and paternity leave and flexible working, that's changed enormously over those 28 years.

"The culture changed as well - so what I find now is that most of my male colleagues also want to spend time with their families and it's not just something that mums want to do but dads want to do as well.

"It's becoming more acceptable for all to behave in a much more family balanced way of work," Brig Sharkey added.

My Mummy Is A Soldier Inside Book  050319 Credit BFBS
The book aims to highlight women in the Armed Forces.

Kerrine Bryan is the author of 'My Mummy Is A Soldier'. She served as an engineer and says she wrote the book in the hope it will educate and inspire the next generation.

Ms Bryan said the feedback she's had from the book has been "great":

"There's not much out there at the moment that tells the story of women in male-dominated fields."

She says as a woman who was an engineer, it was one of her main reasons for starting the book and to get the message out there.

Ms Bryan crowdfunded the book to produce 400 copies but she is hoping to provide the books to the 17,000 primary schools across the UK.