RAAF women break new ground
VETERANS, new recruits and serving personnel at RAAF Base Amberley joined together to celebrate the achievements of women in the Air Force.
The base held a breakfast yesterday where guest speakers discussed the International Women's Day 2016 theme, Pledge For Parity.
Military working dog handler Tegan Bowden touched on her experience as a woman in the Air Force and urged the wider community to challenge bias against female involvement in the military.
"Pledge For Parity is a motto that incites to turn awareness and conversation into action," LACW Bowden said.
"The RAAF took a massive step in the right direction to eradicate disparity by allowing women to enlist as Airfield Defence Guard.
"The Air Force may (also) graduate our first qualified female fighter pilot in June this year with more female candidates going through the training process.
"It is these milestones and opportunities that encourage diversity and should motivate females to break new ground."
Group Captain Glenn Braz, who has two daughters, used the occasion to celebrate women in the Air Force and to reflect on the challenges females still face in the RAAF.
"We are yet to have a woman pilot fly a fast jet in Australia and that's something I'd like to see happen simply because I seek that diversity," he said.
"We need to change the way we encourage, train and employ women in Air Combat Group.
"Women's achievements and contributions matter and diversity benefits all of us.
"Every night I look at (my daughters') future and I hope they grow to achieve their dreams, not hindered but free to seek their own path with equality.
"That is what I'm seeking for the Air Combat Group and that's what I wish for my daughters every day."
RAAF veteran and president of the Women's Royal Australian Air Force, Carol McCool, worked in the Air Force in the 60s and 70s and said she was glad to see young RAAF being offered more opportunities today.
"I was at Amberley for two years as a telephonist. I answered the switch board," she said.
"Women were viewed a lot differently. We were 'just' women and there was no integration.
"A lot has progressed since then. Now women can do and achieve a lot more which is great."