The Women in Defence Charter has been launched today at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) by the Minister for Defence Procurement Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
The Women in Defence Charter is a commitment to work together to build a more balanced enterprise. Signatories are committing to be the very best at driving inclusion and diversity within their organisations and providing opportunities for women to succeed at all levels.
The Charter is a collaboration between the Ministry of Defence, Women in Defence UK, ADS, Defence Growth Partnership, industry and others, and reflects the aspiration of the defence community to improve gender balance at all levels.
commits organisations to supporting the progression of women in to senior roles in the defence sector by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level
recognises the diversity of the sector and that organisations will have different starting points – each organisation should therefore set its own targets, where appropriate, and implement the right strategy them
requires organisations to publicly report on progress to deliver against any internal targets to support the transparency and accountability needed to drive change
aims to enable women to thrive, enhancing the individual and collective impact of women across defence and in doing so, improving the overall output of defence.
Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “I am proud to announce that the MOD is signing up to the Women in Defence Charter. This demonstrates an upstanding commitment to diversity and equality across all aspects of defence.
“The MOD already employs amazing women, both in and out of uniform. As we set our sights on modernising defence, the Charter’s emphasis on building a fair and balanced defence enterprise is a not only something to support, but also an aspiration we are serious about achieving.”
Ruth Cairnie, Patron of the Women in Defence Charter and Chair of Babcock, said: “Experience shows that diverse teams mean better business decisions and more innovative solutions. This is particularly relevant in the UK defence sector, which thrives on collaboration as well as competition. Those who sign the Charter are committing themselves to actions which will make a huge difference, and our people, the sector and the country will reap the benefits.”
Sophie Thomas, Women in Defence Charter Industry Co-Chair and Zephyr Programme Manager at Airbus, said: “The Charter gives us a unique opportunity to harness the momentum that has been gathering across our society for gender balance, helping to build a working environment that is more balanced and fair for women, which will benefit the defence sector as a whole.”
Angela Owen, Women in Defence UK Co-Chair of the Charter said: “The Charter is about creating an environment that women want to join, where they feel they can thrive and where they want to stay. An environment that is better for women but better for men too. An environment of opportunity for all, that ultimately improves the output of UK defence.”
Signatories of the Charter already include* the Ministry of Defence, defence trade body ADS, primes such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin UK, Raytheon UK, Thales UK and SMEs including JJ Churchill and Oxley Group.