8 March 2013
Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the New Zealand Defence Force has launched a Women’s Development Steering Group to ensure there are no barriers to women succeeding in the Defence Force.
At the launch, the Chief of the Defence Force, Lt Gen Rhys Jones, said the aim was to further develop women in civilian and military roles – especially at the senior level.
“In our Defence Force, women serve equally, perform equally and demonstrate equally our core values of courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity”, said Lt Gen Jones. “But while so much progress has been made in our history, women are still not represented equally at all levels.”
The Hon Anne Tolley, Deputy Speaker of the House, speaking at the launch, noted that during the Second World War, women enlisted into the Women’s Corps for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
"This segregation ended in 1977 when women were integrated into the regular force of the Army, Navy and Air Force, receiving equal pay for equal work,” she told the more than 100 guests in attendance. “At the same time, all barriers to promotion were abolished. Then in 2000, all policy barriers to women serving in combat roles were removed. Now in 2013, the number of service women in the Armed Forces has increased to such an extent that deploying units without them would be difficult."
The role of the NZDF Women’s Development Steering Group is to ensure the Defence Force has a strong and inclusive workforce, and that key development opportunities for women are identified.
“The Steering Group brings together a group of ‘experts’ – whether by their life experience or their role here - to identify and tackle any visible and invisible barriers to women’s development in the Defence Force,” says Lt Gen Jones.