Report findings into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force have been handed down.

A quick summary – and I have missed a few as I am typing while listening to the report on ABC1 in Australia.

  • Sexual harassment and abuse exists in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and divides teams and ruins lives.
  • Women joining the ADF understand that there are risks involved with the job, however Sexual harassment and abuse should not be one of those risks.
  • Women must make a choice – ADF, or have a family
  • There are few women at top levels.
  • In the last 10 years there has only been a 1% increase of women into the ADF – 2% since 1990. The report recommends that greater recruitment of women needs to happen.
  • 80% of the ADF is Australian men who speak English at home, despite only making up 40% of the population. The report finds this means that the ADF is NOT taking advantage of demographic shifts since 1990.
  • Women are excluded from roles based on gender
  • Recommendations include broadening roles (especially in leadership) from which women are drawn, selecting teams for combat based on ability, and not gender – individual assessments. The report found that despite the ADF insisting they do this already, that they don’t and this area is lacking.
  • Senior female, however, states that when a woman is put up for promotion, she is there based on her merit, so get over it.
  • Segregation is telling
  • Gender norms exist – ADF is very male.
  • Exclusion and sexual assault – women rarely report incidents as felt they would be victimised, subjected to discrimination, and not believed. However, the researchers found that this was not the experience of most that they interviewed.

That is where coverage ended. On the last point, i would argue that the handling of the skype incident would show systematic failings, victimisation and discrimination of the young lady involved which was played out in the media – and I don’t feel this was appropriately addressed, but until I read the report I will have to withhold that feeling.


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