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International Women's Day: 7 Military Women To Inspire Us In 2020

We've got our eye on these capable and phenomenal women. You should, too.

Woman Strong Fist International Women's Day Duotone Credit Shutterstock KieferPix ID 1039315024

We think these seven women are worth keeping an eye on in 2020.

They all share the same drive to constantly strive for greatness in everything they do and at no point have they let anyone hold them back because of their gender.

They know there is strength in being a woman.

In 2011, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, was named the first Director of UN Women, an organisation dedicated to fighting for gender equality. To mark this she said these powerful words:

“Women’s strength, women’s industry, women’s wisdom are humankind’s greatest untapped resource”.

We've got our eye on these phenomenal women. You should, too.

Trailblazing Army Officer

Captain Rosie Wild made history in February 2020 when she became the first woman to pass the gruelling Parachute Regiment selection course. 

Known as P Company, several women have tried to pass and failed, but Captain Rosie Wild has become the first to succeed, earning herself a famous maroon beret. 

The 28-year-old will join 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.  

About Captain Wild, Brigadier John Clark, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: 

"She is a trailblazer and we hope that her achievement will encourage other women to have a go. 

"A more representative force will only make us stronger." 

RAF, Harlequins Women and England Rugby Player

RAF Women’s Rugby Union player Amy Cokayne was rewarded in 2019 for her consistent performances at the highest level with a full-time professional contract with the England rugby team.  

Flying Officer Cokayne, who completed her officer training in 2019, is one of 22 England women players to have been handed full-time deals by England.  

Amy, 23, combines her international duties with her Royal Air Force career. She played a major role in winning the RAF women's first-ever Inter-Services title and will earn her 50th England cap on Saturday, March 7.

Amy signed for English rugby union team Harlequins in 2019, becoming a permanent full-time player. She thinks it’s helped her grow as a player. She said: 

"It’s huge especially to be full-time, they have a good full-time programme. 

"Every day, you know exactly what you are doing and what sessions you are doing. 

"It’s a good bunch of girls as well so every day, there’s at least 16 girls. 

"It beats doing a gym or running session by yourself." 

Amy Cokayne speaks to Forces News.
Amy Cokayne speaks to BFBS Sport

First-Ever Female Army Cadet Force National Ambassador

At the beginning of the year, Sally Orange was awarded the prestigious accolade of being made the first-ever female Army Cadet Force National Ambassador. The former British Army Major served 22 years in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Since leaving the army, Sally has led the first-ever female team of eight wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and civilians in the 'Race Across America'.

Speaking to BFBS Radio, Sally passionately speaks of how the Army Cadet Force instils the values and standards of the British Army in the teenage cadets. She said: 

“Personally, I think these are qualities that, if any young person takes these on board, the world is going to be a better place.”

She once held the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest marathon dressed as a piece of fruit and ran one of the world's toughest marathon courses in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

One Fight Away From The Olympics

British Army athlete Gunner Karris Artingstall has enjoyed a rapid rise in the boxing ranks. Last year saw the Great Britain competitor claim a world bronze medal and a European Championships silver. Having taken time to let those achievements sink in, she’s now hungry for more international success, this time on the biggest sporting stage of all, the Olympic Games.  

Now her focus is qualifying for this summers Games in Japan. The 57-kilogram fighter has a qualification competition at the Copper Box in London on March 14, 2020. It certainly won’t be a stroll in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

Artingstall no longer represents the Army at tournaments, but always carries her military ties with her in the ring. She said: 

"When I walk to the ring, I’m still proud to be part of the Army even though I’m not wearing the Army vest. 

"The support and backing I get from the Army, especially my regiment, is unbelievable. 

"It does spur you on that little bit more. 

"It’s just a nice feeling to know that I am still part of the British Army." 

Army and GB Boxers Karris Artingstall and Tori Ellis Willets

Sights Set On The 2022 Commonwealth Games

Artingstall isn’t the only soldier on the GB squad. So too is Gunner Tori Ellis-Willets. The Royal Artillery Gunner has Olympic dreams but acknowledges this Olympic cycle may have come too soon in her development. The Birmingham born boxer believes the 2022 Commonwealth Games is a more realistic objective. She said: 

"I've got that other four years within me and obviously, the Commonwealth Games is in Birmingham. 

"It’s my hometown so I just want to get there and get the job done." 

Willets outside chance of Olympic qualification will come in May at the World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Paris. She knows what she must do to giver herself the best shot at selection. 

Boxing is often described as a solitary sport, but the two servicewomen benefit by having the other on the team because of their Forces backgrounds.

The Teenager Determined To Be A Bootneck

Royal Marine Cadet Bea is determined to apply for the Royal Marines when she turns 16 in 2021. As part of this dream, she joined Twitter in February 2019 and quickly found herself a loyal following. She now has 7,633 followers and uses that interest to encourage people to join the Cadets.

She also uses the social media platform to fundraise and help promote other cadet's charity events. 

Bea is taking on a huge challenge, named Operation Bumble – she is nicknamed Bumble and Stinger by her family - in July to raise money for two charities, The Royal Marines Family and Castleford Royal Marine Cadets X Company.

As part of Bea’s fitness training, she will take on one of the four Commando tests. She said: 

“Whichever test I do, it will end at the Royal Marine monument at Speenbridge in the Scottish Highlands, where I will change into my Blues and salute the men that it is dedicated to.” 

CrossFit Champion

CrossFit athlete Sergeant Charlotte Spence of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps was a keynote speaker at this year's Army Servicewomen's Network Conference at Sandhurst in March. 

When she first joined the British Army, Charlotte would run to keep herself fit but, an injury meant she had to find a different way to keep fit. This is why she discovered CrossFit around six to seven years ago. The fitness programme and her passion for running also helped her during maternity leave. She said: 

"After I had my baby I decided I needed to get fit, I was going back to work and the best way to do it was training for the marathon and give myself three months to do it in." 

Sergeant Spence is now the number two CrossFit competitor in the UK and 75th in the world. She said: 

"Anyone can achieve anything. 

"I compete at a high level, but I want to say there is nothing special about what I do that, actually with a little bit of dedication, we are all capable of pretty much anything." 

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