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Opportunities for all
limits to women.
This was the message deliv-
ered by CDF ACM Mark Binskin
at the Women and National Security
Conference held in Canberra from
ACM Binskin highlighted the
expanding role of women in the ADF
when he spoke at the conference – the
first of its kind and scope in Australia.
The ANU National Security
College hosted the conference, which
was attended by participants from a
range of national security communi-
ties in government, private sector, aca-
demia, diplomatic corps and NGOs in
Australia and overseas.
ACM Binskin says he is encour-
aged by how far the ADF has come,
even during his own military career.
“In 2017, no job is off limits to
women – we have female personnel
performing critical roles on all our cur-
rent operations and there is an increas-
ing number of female commanders
leading at all levels across the organi-
sation,” he says.
“In fact, I was privileged to meet
one of them in Proserpine on April
3 – Lt-Col Jennifer Harris, CO 3CER,
who is doing a magnificent job leading
the main ADF engineering response to
Tropical Cyclone Debbie in northern
ACM Binskin says 57 per cent of
his own staff members are women.
“They are the first people to tell me
how it really is, and their candour on
CDF says gender differences make teams stronger,
Sgt Dave Morley reports.
AUSTRALIA has a proud
military history stretching
over more than a century, and
women have always formed
an integral part of that story,
according to CDF ACM Mark
“During WWI, about 3000
civilian nurses volunteered for
tions close to
Britain, as well
as hospitals in
the Middle East
and India, and
on Allied hos-
pital ships and
“Sadly, 25 Australian women
died in service during WWI.
Many more were awarded
military honours, including eight
women who received the Military
Medal for bravery for their
actions during the conflict.
“Our diggers are renowned for
their courage and ingenuity and
our nurses were no different.”
ACM Binskin says additional
opportunities opened to women
who wanted to contribute to the
nation’s war effort during WWII.
“The Australian Women’s
Army Service, the Women’s
Air Force all
1941,” he says.
number of men
dominantly in medical or support
roles during the Vietnam War,
and the three women’s service
organisations remained separate
entities until the early 1980s,
when each was subsumed into
the Navy, Army and Air Force.”
behalf of their peers, combined with
the mix of unique insights, help me
see issues from a different point of
view. In my experience, our differenc-
es make us a stronger team,” he says.
There are more than 500 additional
women serving in the ADF today com-
pared to a year ago, and CDF says if
Defence wants to attract and retain the
top talent, it has to change the way it
“We need to continue to drive out
unacceptable behaviour – we must
empower people to adopt flexible
working arrangements, where appro-
priate, and we must consider their fam-
ily needs,” he says.
ACM Binskin says the ADF needs
to ensure it has a common understand-
ing about what a diverse, inclusive and
capable ADF looks like, and how to
“It is an important step in reaching
the recruiting targets we have set for
ourselves,” he says.
“Navy and Air Force are working
towards a 25 per cent female work-
force by 2023, while Army has set its
sights on achieving 15 per cent female
participation within the next six years.
“Navy is focused on mentoring
women in the fields of engineering and
project management; Army is work-
ing to develop future leaders; and Air
Force has established a network to
support women working in what are
seen as non-traditional roles.”
CDF says diversifying the ADF’s
demographic base and increasing the
number of women in the ADF cor-
relates to what the ADF is trying to
achieve in support of UNSCR 1325.
“Our goal must be to reach the
point where applying the principles
outlined in the Women Peace and
Security agenda is no longer consid-
ered special,” he says.
“It needs to be accepted, not as an
adjunct duty, but as a primary element
of all our operations.”
In 2017, no job is off limits to
women – we have female personnel
performing critical roles on all our
ACM Mark Binskin,
Proud history of service
Members of the Australian Army
Nursing Service on camels
in front of the Sphinx and
pyramids in 1915.
Lt Anna Delaney keeps watch on her troop of M1A1 Abrams tanks during
Exercise Reapers Run at Puckapunyal last year.
Photo: Jayson Tufrey
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