Women

Military chief: 'Laddish culture' is encouraged to face enemies but needs change

An inclusivity "shift" for women and minority groups would improve teams, says General Sir Nick Carter.

The head of the Armed Forces says it must "square" a "laddish culture" encouraged to take on adversaries, with inclusivity, in order to become more effective.

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, was appearing at his final Defence Committee hearing before he leaves the role later this year.

The military cannot take its "foot off the accelerator" when it came to tackling issues of discrimination, he said.

Explaining why, he added: "We do also, out of the other side of our mouth, encourage a laddish culture.

"Part of the reason we encourage a laddish culture is, ultimately, our soldiers have to go close and personal with the enemy.

"Now what you've got to try to do is square both of these outputs, and that’s what we have to work on."

Derek Twigg MP, a member of the Defence Select Committee, said this was "no excuse for mistreating and attacking women".

In agreement, General Carter continued: "One has to get people who are building these teams to understand that the team will be a better team if it's more diverse and it's more inclusive and, indeed, women and ethnic minorities and all the rest of it are part of the equation."

Accepting a culture shift needs to take place, General Carter recently told MPs in a Government report he "wasn't surprised" to hear claims of women being mistreated in the forces.