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RAF officer reaches highest rank held by woman

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by layman, Aug 24, 2013.

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  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

    May 1, 2012
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    A female RAF officer who joined up straight from school 34-years-ago has been promoted to the highest rank a woman in the British military has ever held.


    Elaine West has been promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and will take charge of building projects for the Ministry of Defence and oversee the withdrawal of troops from Germany.
    Her two-star rank makes her equivalent to a Major General in the Army, or a Rear Admiral in the Navy.
    The 51-year-old from Buckinghamshire said she took up her new job with “enormous prideâ€.
    She said: “I am privileged to have served in the RAF and to have enjoyed so many challenging roles over the years. To now be the first female military two-star is a truly unexpected bonus.â€
    “I know so many inspirational women across all three Services who continue to make a substantial contribution to operations and our Armed Forces more widely. This is a terrific opportunity and one that I’m looking forward to immensely.â€

    AVM West grew up in Windermere and has had 18 different jobs since joining the RAF in 1978, as an aircraftwoman aged 17.
    She is married to a former Tornado navigator and has one son.
    Until her promotion, the MoD said women had only ever reached the one-star ranks of Brigadier in the Army, Commodore in the Navy and Air Commodore in the RAF.
    Philip Hammond, defence secretary, said the military needed the best and the brightest talent in senior positions “irrespective of genderâ€.
    He said: “I am pleased that we are demonstrating in defence that there are no ‘glass ceilings’ for female officers who have the necessary abilities to rise to the senior ranks.â€
    Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, head of the RAF, said the promotion was “thoroughly well deservedâ€.
    He said: “It is fantastic to see more female officers reaching top positions within the service. The vast majority of roles in the Armed Forces are open to women and I would encourage everyone, regardless of gender to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them within the military.â€
    Despite AVM West’s appointment the upper ranks of the military remain almost exclusively male.
    Of 79 Commodores in the Navy, none are women. Three of the RAF’s 75 Air Commodores are women. One of the Army’s 150 Brigadiers is a woman.
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