Female officers playing vital role for 2 Scots in Kenya training

They may be in a minority but behind the scenes at battle field headquarters female officers are playing a key role supporting 2 SCOTS in Exercise Askari Storm.
Intelligence Corps Corporal Danielle Poyner. PIC: PAIntelligence Corps Corporal Danielle Poyner. PIC: PA
Intelligence Corps Corporal Danielle Poyner. PIC: PA

While the exclusion on women serving in close combat roles in the British military was only lifted last year, more than 80% of jobs across the Armed Forces were already open to females.

Despite this, women currently only make up about 10% of the military’s workforce.

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Second lieutenant Sarah Carew, from 32 Regiment Royal Artillery, thinks more women might consider an Army career if they knew the opportunities it offers.

The 27-year-old, from Gloucester, has been attached to 2 SCOTS for the duration of their Kenyan training co-ordinating the team that flies the Desert Hawk unmanned aerial system.

She joined the officers’ training corps while studying international politics at university.

2nd Lt Carew said: “It’s a really welcoming battle group. The artillery are very used to working with females already, so it’s not even an issue. People are almost too nice, too respectful.

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“It maybe takes them at least a few days to get used to having a female there but, to be honest, they’ve got female clerks, they’ve got female medics, they’ve had quite a lot of attachments from different arms anyway, so it’s not necessarily something new.

“You’re quite novel for a few days, then you’re just one of the lads really.

“Especially once we start working and they realise where you fit in, what your role is and what you contribute it actually just disappears.”

2nd Lt Carew said the lack of women in the military could be down to the image of the job, adding: “I don’t think people really understand how much diversity there is in the army.

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“We’re perhaps partly at fault for not explaining that more, not expressing it more.

“It’s up to people like me to actually let them know how many more different roles there are.”

Intelligence Corps Corporal Danielle Poyner, 32, from Yorkshire, said she had always wanted to join the army.

She said: “I’ve not been to Kenya and it’s the first time I’ve worked with the infantry as well, so it’s been exciting. You’re very much just thrown in with the battle group.

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“I don’t know why there’s not more women come forward for it, working with these guys, they’re all really, really good.

“I prefer it like this to being in a female-dominated environment. I tend to find it works a lot better when it’s mixed.

“Working in this environment, everyone has been really respectful, everyone’s been really polite about it. You get military banter but that just makes the day go quicker.”