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Learning from the women of Defence.

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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Thursday, 30 October 2008 159/2008


The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today met with Australian Defence Force (ADF) women at Enoggera, for the 17th national ‘round table’ meeting to explore what Defence can do better to recruit and retain women in its military and civilian workforce.

“This year I have travelled the length and breadth of the country; from Anglesea Barracks in Tasmania to RAAF Tindal in the Northern Territory; from Leeuwin Barracks in Western Australia to Defence Plaza in Sydney, discussing with our service women the challenges of a career in Defence,” said Mr Snowdon.

“Women’s representation in the ADF workforce has remained fairly static at about 13 per cent of the permanent force for the last 10 years despite military employment opportunities opening-up.

“It is simply not acceptable.”

More than 200 women drawn from the public service, Navy, Army and Air Force and from all ranks have attended the Minister’s informal discussions.

“Many of the matters raised are not gender-specific and participants were very clear in their view that they should not be considered to be solely ‘women’s issues’,” said Mr Snowdon.

“Nevertheless, they are issues that affect women disproportionately more than men.”

The themes raised have included access to flexible working arrangements, career management, training and professional development, work/family balance, support services, childcare and schooling, housing and current recruitment initiatives.

”I will ensure that the comments and feedback from the meetings are passed to the Secretary of Defence, Nick Warner and the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF), Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.

“I have also requested that the feedback be given to CDF’s Reference Group on Women and the Service Chiefs so they may use it to challenge current approaches to issues facing women in Defence,” Mr Snowdon said.

Mr Snowdon said he wished to thank participants for their personal perspectives and candid views.

Media contacts: Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664