Defence Secretary meets military’s most senior female officer to mark International Women’s Day

Gavin Williamson, RAF defence featured

The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has marked International Women’s Day, by meeting the most senior female millitary officer in the Armed Forces.

In a double celebration to mark National Apprenticeship Week and International Women’s Day, Williamson visited the Defence College of Technical Training in RAF Cosford.

Joined by Air Marshal Sue Gray, together they met with some of the 45 female apprentices currently studying STEM trades at the college.

Some nine trades were represented, ranging from aircraft engineering to cyberspace communications, survival equipment, photography and the emergency services, showcasing the breadth of skills of apprentices in the Armed Forces.

Speaking of the visit, Williamson said, “From those completing apprenticeships at the start of their careers, to the first female three-star officer, I am delighted to celebrate both National Apprenticeship Week and International Women’s Day with the young men and women who will mark the future success of the UK Armed Forces.”

“I hope that the young apprentices we met today are inspired by Air Marshal Sue Gray’s historic achievement to reach for the top.”

“With all the roles across the British military now opened to women, there are no limits to those looking to succeed in Defence.”

Last year all combat roles in the UK Armed Forces were opened to women for the first time, including those in ground close combat and the Royal Marines.

This event demonstrates the breadth of professions that women are already working in within the Armed Forces. As of 2018, a total of over 20,000 women are currently serving in the Regular and Reserve forces.

AM Sue Gray was last month promoted to the rank of Air Marshal, becoming the RAF’s first ever female three star officer and the most senior woman to have ever served in the UK Armed Forces.

She will shortly take up the role of Director General of the Defence Safety Authority, responsible for the regulation of Health, Safety and Environmental Protection across the Ministry of Defence.


Do you know an amazing woman in Defence? WeAreTheCity are currently looking for women in defence for our 2019 Rising Star Awards. Cast your nominations now: https://risingstars.wearethecity.com/nominations-2019/

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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