On Tuesday 12 January, around 100 school children visited the MOD to meet inspirational women working in Defence and hear their stories.
The event was organised in conjunction with the national “Inspiring Women” Campaign and saw approximately 100 school girls - mainly from London - visit MOD’s Main Building in London to hear from a range of speakers, and talk to a group of Defence’s very own inspiring women.
Minister for the Armed Forces Penny Mordaunt opened the event welcoming attendees and encouraging them to be confident and tenacious, focus on the roles that are right for them, and believe in their own ability to accomplish what they want.
The minister explained that her own experiences, including those working with the marginalised in Romania while working with an aid charity as an 18 year old, had motivated her to get involved in politics as a means of allowing her to fulfil her personal ambitions to make a positive difference in improving people’s lives. Inspiring Women campaign champion Miriam Gonzalez then spoke on the range of opportunities available to young women starting out their careers today. She highlighted that only one in ten roles in the wider Defence community are currently filled by females, and encouraged those in attendance to think about the potential opportunities this presents them for the future.
With opening speeches concluded, the event moved into a speed networking session where each table of attendees (representing a different school) was paired with different staff from a pool of 32 inspiring MOD women drawn from all three services and the Civil Service. These volunteers were drawn from a wide range of roles and included, amongst others; engineers (including an elite athlete, and representatives from air and nuclear domains), logisticians, intelligence and language experts, a nurse, a pilot, a Royal Navy Lawyer, and a Royal Marine Bandswoman. There were also a range of corporate functions represented by staff from Administration, Education and Training, Finance and HR roles.
Over the next hour and a quarter these volunteers - who ranged between apprentices, right up to Senior Civil Servants and a Royal Navy Commodore and a Royal Air Force Air Vice Marshal - spoke to the visiting school children to describe their roles and how they arrived at them, and to answer questions about their careers and experiences of being women working in Defence.
Having been presented an insight into the world of Defence, and the opportunities available within it, the event then concluded with those in attendance encouraged to discover for themselves what a career in Defence offers.