What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Responses from HQ…

‘Celebration of women, to empower and connect’ – Sophie Heaps

‘Liberation’ – Chloe Ferguson

‘A worldwide celebration of the achievements of women’ – Sabina Green

‘Progress of equality’ – Kristine Dinha

‘Independence’ – Hibah Hamza

‘A reminder of how far we still need to go to achieve equality’ – Elizabeth Hardman

 

International Women’s Day (8th March) is particularly important in the Defence and Security sector, as it has long been an industry dominated by men. Recent years have seen a huge rise in the prominence of women in Defence – in October 2018, Angela Owen’s ‘Women in Defence’ networking group held its inaugural annual award ceremony. This group was created in response to a perceived absence of women in key conferences where networking in the sector would take place.[1] ‘Women in Defence’ provided a platform and a networking opportunity for all women in the Defence and Security sector, and to encourage others to join the field. The awards perfectly encapsulate some of the sentiment of International Women’s Day, showcasing the ability and contribution of women.

Events like this also serve to highlight the distance still needed to go for equality and equal representation – just two months after the ‘Women in Defence’ Awards, a military panel, at an event organised by the same group, was held to discuss what can be done to address gender balance, or imbalance as the problem seems, in the Armed Forces. The panel was ironically headed by five men… and no women, a fact quickly noted upon by the media.[2] Heading to the website of the same group, the first featured blog post is a discussion with Mike Nayler about gender balance.[3] However the work of ‘Women in Defence’ can’t be ignored – the introduction of a networking platform for professionals:

“Don’t boast, but be proud, be incredibly proud. Your accomplishments really will inspire the next generation of women who work in defence of the nation.”[4]

 

Defence and Security is such a culturally diverse sector, it only makes sense that all genders are equally represented to best reflect communities around the globe.

TBW Global’s Top Women in Defence and Security:

  • Queen Elizabeth II (previously Princess Elizabeth) – joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and trained as a driver and mechanic
  • Women of the Women’s Royal Army Corps (founded 1949)
  • Jackie Akhavan – Professor of Explosive Chemistry (Cranfield University), head of Centre for Defence Chemistry
  • Hedy Lamarr – actor and scientist (creation of a rrequency-hopping signal that can’t be jammed – was later used on navy ships)
  • Clare Riches – CCO of TBW Global
  • Sabina Green – Head of Recruitment TBW Global

 

[1] ‘Women in Defence: An interview with Angela Owen, PA Consulting and founder of Women in Defence’, https://www.contracts.mod.uk/do-features-and-articles/women-in-defence/ [accessed 22 March 2019]

[2] Victoria Ward, ‘Military panel held to debate gender balance in the Armed Forces fails to include women’, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/11/military-panel-held-debate-gender-balance-armed-forces-fails/ [accessed 22 March 2019]

[3] https://www.womenindefenceuk.com/ [accessed 22 March 2019]

[4] https://twitter.com/womenindefence/status/1077183807458025473 [accessed 22 March]