Admiral Sir George Zambellas commented in the Telegraph why the UK and Scotland would both suffer a loss of maritime security in the event of Scottish independence.
Sexism in the Armed Forces
The BBC Radio 4 Today Programme ran a package on sexism in the Armed Forces this morning claiming that sexism and harassment are a big problem, particularly in the Army.
Firstly, there is absolutely no place for discrimination of any kind in our Armed Forces and any allegation of sexism or harassment will always be thoroughly investigated and the appropriate action taken.
Unfortunately, the package failed to recognise a lot of the improvements that have been made across all 3 Services in recent years, some of which have received praise externally and even won awards. Examples of the extensive support in place for women in the Armed Forces and of this external recognition include:
- The Royal Air Force recently won the Nationwide Inspiring the Workforce of the Future Award at the Opportunity Now Excellence in Practice Awards 2014. Opportunity Now is the workplace gender campaign from Business in the Community. The Royal Air Force was also named as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2014, the fourth time that the RAF has been included in the list.
- In 2012 the Army was placed in the top 10 Public Sector employers for Gender by Opportunity Now and has demonstrated its commitment to increasing the representation of women by establishing an Army Women's Network which provides support and advice to all female service personnel.
- The Navy has a number of initiatives to provide support for women in Service including the development of a more flexible career structure, establishment of nursery provision, introduction of a Naval Nannies Scheme and creation of a Naval Servicewomen's Network.
The package also failed to identify that many individuals, including the Service Complaints Commissioner herself, have welcomed the news that we are creating the Armed Forces first independent Service Complaints Ombudsman to help ensure our personnel have confidence in the complaints system.
We want our Armed Forces to better reflect the society we serve and work hard to ensure the maximum number of roles and trades are available to women to provide them with the opportunity to serve their country. New changes have meant that, in 2010, the role of clearance diver was opened up to women and as of December 2011, women can now serve on submarines. We promote diversity at all levels, and endeavour to improve the experience for women serving in all 3 Services.
Speaking in response to the claims made by the Today Programme, the Armed Forces' second female 2 star, Air Vice Marshal Susan Gray, said:
"Having spent 29 years in the Royal Air Force, this is not a reflection of the Armed Forces that I recognise. Whilst I know that we still have a long way to go when it comes to seeing more women in senior military positions, we have come on leaps and bounds in the last 20 years. It's disappointing to hear about these claims of sexism, but they do not mirror my own, very positive experience. In my view, there is nothing holding women back from having a very successful career in the Armed Forces."
Finally, it should also be noted that the Army Rumour Service website (ARRSE) is neither controlled nor moderated by MOD. Neither do you have to be a serving member of personnel to use the site so it would be wrong for anyone to make the assumption that comments on the site were made by serving soldiers.