ADF IN GENDER POLICY FURORE
A PASSIONATE online debate has erupted over claims the Australian Defence Force is focused on recruiting women to meet bold employment targets.
News Corp yesterday revealed the weekly targets sent out to ADF recruiters showed no targets for men in 35 of 50 army positions but the instruction to “recruit immediately” if a woman came forward for combat roles such as armoured cavalry.
In response, the ADF put out a statement saying: “All roles in the Australian Defence Force ( ADF) are open for men and women to apply.” But an ADF recruiter told News Corp: “Yes they can apply — but only women will get the job.”
The ADF confirmed it had set goals for female participation rates of 15 per cent for the army and 25 per cent for the navy and air force by 2023.
In one key aspect, Townsville’s 3rd Brigade already beats the army participation rates with a quarter of the city’s eight units having female commanding officers.
Lieutenant Colonel Jennifer Harris, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment, led the Emergency Support Force for Cyclone Debbie.
Lieutenant Colonel Gabrielle Follett, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Combat Ser- vice Support Battalion, held a key leadership role with Battle Group Cannan in Exercise Talisman Sabre.
“Defence has introduced initiatives to help us attract the best talent from the widest possible talent pool,” the Defence statement read.
“While Defence maintains targets to encourage greater participation of women, every candidate must meet the required standards. Successful candidates are selected based on merit and their capacity to do the work, not on their gender.”
This week, 3rd Brigade Commander Brigadier Chris Field held the first North Queensland Women’s Leadership Forum, an event he instigated, and spoke of the ADF’s goal to foster leadership and the mentoring of women in the military and wider community.
“Our intention is that we allow people to share their talents with the world and reach their own personal professional potential,” he said on Wednesday.
“We believe diversity is a great accelerator of success.”
The Bulletin’s Facebook page was inundated with comments, sparking heated debate.
“Discrimination ... how can they get away with this ... the mines are doing it ... everywhere is doing it ... I worry