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Woman RAF officer joins top military brass

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Woman RAF officer joins top military brass

Old 24th Aug 2013, 09:23
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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Al

We can but hope. It depends if Nu-Labour get in next time around and spend like billy-ho!

LJ

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 24th Aug 2013 at 14:24.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 16:17
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Leon Jabachjabicz View Post
PS. If we're into trumpetting firsts then why didn't we have "First Navigator to 4-star rank" (Simon Bryant in 2010) and "2nd ever Navigator 4-star heading up new Joint Force Command" (Stuart Peach). So this 'spin' is sexist in my opinion when we are supposed to be equal. The fact that she is female should have no bearing on it.

Now the fact that she appears to be highly rated, professional and deserved of 2-star rank (according to most on here), then that is what the headline should reflect; not the incorrect fact that she is the first female 2-star in HM's Air Force.

Now, if she were to reach 3-star, now I agree, that would be a first!

LJ

Oh come on Leon get over this. Look like it or not, disagree with it you may but the fact remains that females are under-represented in the UK workplace, especially so in the higher echelon posts. So with respect to the news release (spin as you see it) the fact that she is female has every bearing on it. Every day I have an uphill battle trying to convince the lassies in the science classroom that they should peruse STEM careers every bit as the boys as they are just as capable. If stories like this help then where the hell is the harm - we need more of these not less. Just like the female GE story a few weeks back.

The fact that we don't publish with the same vigour "First Navigator to 4-star rank" is that being a Nav is a lifestyle choice not something your are born to! So please, just celebrate the good news will you and hope that it may inspire some other ladies/girls that maybe they should strive for such success. She is far better than the X factor role models chasing their celebrity god.

Last edited by TomJoad; 24th Aug 2013 at 16:42.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 16:41
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Oh I love PPRuNe. No matter how good the news, someone will always find a reason to complain. Hang on, just like my former employee.

Anyway, congratulations Ma'am. Keep doing good work. (Wish we had a salute emoticon)
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 16:47
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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Found this, on seconds thoughts more like Benny Hill!

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Old 24th Aug 2013, 19:43
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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Tom

I'm 90% with you, but I disagree that spinning stories like this does gender equality any good at all. I know of many females colleagues that have turned down being paraded in news stories such as this (such as the first woman to get 1000hrs Fast Jet). They know how damaging this can be amongst their peer group if they are to be accepted for who they are - a felow human being with equal rights and a shared skill set.

Over my 25 years I have seen positive recruitment of females significantly damage their relationships with their colleagues. For example, the first female aircrew got many more 'flex' hours than their male peers - sometimes to 200-300%. Now that is not equality. Neither is the fact that an 18 year old female has to achieve the same RAF Fitness Test standard as a 54 year old male. Again, that is not equality. Now, when something is newsworthy (ie. a Nav getting 4-star) and it doesn't make the headlines, but a 4th female to get Air Force 2-star gets a mention, that again is not equality.

If we truly want to rid the last bastions of misogynistic behaviour from males in the workplace then we need to desist in the spin-doctoring of females in the work place for being female. Treat them as equals and for the merit of their skills not their gender.

I say again, the headline should have read "Talented RAF Officer is appointed Head of DIO" - gender should not be brought into it. All this should have stopped when we had a female Prime Minister some 70 years after Sufferage; enough is enough.

Finally, I am delighted for AVM Elaine; from what I have read it would seem richly deserved. I am also delighted to see that there is Light Blue at the helm of DIO. As I said before, she has my congratulations as a fellow RAF Officer.

LJ

PS. Is Navigator a "life choice"? I thought all of us were selected for natural abilities (that we were born with) and then streamed at OASC to the aircrew branch that would fit them best?
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 20:15
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I am afraid I am with LJ on this one... we are living in an enlightened age and the RAF is better than this. First gay squadron commander? First black two star? First asian..... you get my drift. If we are a meritocracy then this is not remarkable... nor should it be. Congrats to the AVM West and great news that the DIO has a talented leader... and great that the RAF can contend for such top slots.

On the medals front... well... the phrase "everyone has to do one in rank" seems to have been trotted out by my poster quite a lot... and latterly, those postings have been far more general in nature than aircrew specific. In fact, I would have thought an infra specialist would have been vital in Afghanistan.... particularly considering our work in NTM-A... and also with the PRTs?.... just sayin'
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 22:05
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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Leon again I agree but let's see if we can close that 10% then. I wasn't suggesting for one second that the AVM had been selected under any positive equality policy; without question she earned that position. I know that is your position as well but I think it worth stating to remove any ambiguity.

Ok with respect to female staff shunning being the "poster girl" for the equality bandwaggon; again, I fully agree with both your observations and opinion. I also shared those experiences where I saw some very capable female officers coming under pressure to be the face of RAF equality. But that's not the point I was making. There really is a genuine need to bring to the attention of young girls in this country that these careers are open to them and that they are equally capable. Indeed, they themselves want to compete on an equal playing field - they will argue that most vociferously. So this is not about positive discrimination - at least that is not how I see it. I honestly see the story for what it is: a good story, a story with a positive message that hard work and effort pays off, and yes a story that may inspire some of the brightest talent that this country has in girls. Now this is the point where I declare my stake in this argument. Yes as a teacher of a STEM subject I'm always alert to these stories, but for my own daughters I am passionate about getting that message through to them. So yes - less of the artificial positive discrimination - right person for the job - and if that happens to be a lady then sing it from the rooftops because we desperately need the role models.

Last edited by TomJoad; 24th Aug 2013 at 22:08.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 22:19
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by North Front View Post

On the medals front... well... the phrase "everyone has to do one in rank" seems to have been trotted out by my poster quite a lot... and latterly, those postings have been far more general in nature than aircrew specific. In fact, I would have thought an infra specialist would have been vital in Afghanistan.... particularly considering our work in NTM-A... and also with the PRTs?.... just sayin'
I hesitate to comment on this - it's a bit of a shabby discussion. Look when the great sandpit tour kicked off not every rank had a post requirement - particularly the more senior ranks. So quite understandable that some of our senior officers don't hold these - nothing whatsoever to do with them. If you wear a medal other than for valour then thank your poster for that. I'll probably upset a few folk with that but hey ho medals are for heros not for eating pizza. In my opinion, feel free to disagree of course.

Last edited by TomJoad; 24th Aug 2013 at 22:21.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 03:58
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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For those of us who joined before the various sandpit excursions and the small skirmishes in the Balkans, operational deployments were few and far between - Northern Ireland and that was it. Generally speaking, the most impressive ironmongery was worn by chefs, MT drivers, SAR-Boys and some of the SH daredevils (ever wondered why SH boxes above its weight at the highest echelons?). Meanwhile, the FJ chaps would seek solace in the occasional DFC/AFC awarded for surviving a mid-air with a bird.

Do we really judge capability by counting the number of 'attendance' medals? How............. American.

Last edited by Cows getting bigger; 25th Aug 2013 at 04:01.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 09:13
  #70 (permalink)  
 
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Meanwhile, the FJ chaps would seek solace in the occasional DFC/AFC awarded for surviving a mid-air with a bird.

DFC only for enemy birds, of course. Friendly birds would get you the AFC
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 09:22
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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Well, the absolute best of luck to her.

She may well have more cojones than most of the men. The women that I flew with (generally) had to be twice as good as the men to be considered an equal.

She can't do any worse than the blokes have . . .
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 09:42
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Tom - I think we shaved off another 5 or so % there. I completely agree with role models and I think that AVM West should be held up as role for both females AND males - she had a humble start as an Other Rank, started in one of the less operational branches (Admin/Pers) and got a commission and now she is a 2-star. I believe that if we want to push the message to young females from now on then it should be the job of people like yourself (a teacher) and not the press headlines. Otherwise, I fear that we play into the hands of misoganysts who exclaim that "she probably got there because of her gender/looks/behaviour and/or positive discrimination".

I believe it is the right time that poster girls and "female/women appointed as" should cease.

Dengue-Dude - I agree, once in the perdominently all-male 'sink or swim' world of a front-line sqn, the females had to prove their worth much harder to a bunch of sceptical males. However, it didn't help when some were given such an easy ride compared to their male counterparts in the early days of flying training - the RAF/MOD were so desperate for headlines in those days that we even had a female student aircrew officer who was afraid of the dark (and once they discovered this they still tried to push her through!). This was at a time when more than 5 hours of extra training (so called "flex") would get a male student chopped and some females were getting 20-50 hours extra "flex" to grab the headline.

LJ

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 25th Aug 2013 at 09:44.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 11:42
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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Leon, I would only add that to push the message I need examples, real world examples, ones that shine brighter than X Factor graduates.

You are right of course that the real praiseworthy element here is her journey to the top having started as an SACW - as you say pertinent to both males/females. That is talent and hard work at play. We closed a good bit of the gap Leon - I'll settle for that. Cheers fella.ok:

Last edited by TomJoad; 25th Aug 2013 at 11:44. Reason: because I'm an idiot!
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 13:56
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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Dengue-Dude - I agree, once in the perdominently all-male 'sink or swim' world of a front-line sqn, the females had to prove their worth much harder to a bunch of sceptical males. However, it didn't help when some were given such an easy ride compared to their male counterparts in the early days of flying training - the RAF/MOD were so desperate for headlines in those days that we even had a female student aircrew officer who was afraid of the dark (and once they discovered this they still tried to push her through!). This was at a time when more than 5 hours of extra training (so called "flex") would get a male student chopped and some females were getting 20-50 hours extra "flex" to grab the headline.
Yep, I was teaching on the Herc OCU around the time the ladies appeared. One was outstanding and passed on huge merit, the other one passed but was average (and no shame on that before it's misinterpreted). But it's tough for them too, being in a male environment and subject to the 'policy decisions' and the subsequent resentment from your peers cannot be easy.

I suspect MoD know that the 'pass at any cost' was in fact an 'own goal'. There are a lot of ladies out there with oodles of talent and honest ability, they don't need to 'change the rules' just to accomodate the also rans - it's dengegrating and disrespectful to those who make it on merit alone, rather than gender.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 18:33
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Tom/Dengue

Agreed all around -

LJ

PS. I'm glad that we haven't descended into the muck spreading on Arrse and E-Goat, though!
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 19:06
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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I think this photo emerged in about 2008/9 ish:



Back in NI in the mid-90s there was an all female crew on Pumas, but the three of them refused point blank to do any of the "first female to..." for the very reasons alluded to above.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 19:32
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But then there's Al Murray...

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Old 25th Aug 2013, 19:42
  #78 (permalink)  
 
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Females are under-represented in the workplace and males are under-represented in Labour wards. (In hospitals, I'm not talking politics.)

So what?

She is the first female to make 2-star rank in the Air Force and for that she deserves congratulations.

One or 7 people have flown across the Channel since Bleriot did so, but he's still famous for being the first.
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Old 26th Aug 2013, 15:30
  #79 (permalink)  
 
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She is the first female to make 2-star rank in the Air Force and for that she deserves congratulations.
But there lies the problem, she isn't the first to make 2-star - the media are telling porkies (as usual).

LJ
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Old 26th Aug 2013, 16:00
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Prior to Air Vice-Marshal West’s promotion, the highest rank held by a regular serving female officer in the modern day RAF was Air Commodore. The highest ranking female officer in the Navy has been Commodore and the highest rank achieved by a woman in the Army has been Brigadier.
As briefed by source;

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/t...r-vice-marshal
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