Removing gender restrictions from combat roles within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was the last barrier to women’s full employment the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, said today.
“Women in today’s ADF are now serving in ships and submarines, flying combat aircraft, driving tanks and leading troops in combat zones,” Mr Snowdon said.
“The removal of gender restrictions will encourage talented, capable people to stay in the ADF longer, with these changes having an increased impact on the ability of women in the ADF to progress into leadership positions.
“Removing gender restrictions is something I have been a passionate advocate for and I am proud to have been in a position to drive this change.”
Addressing the first Gender in Defence and Security Leadership Conference in Canberra, Mr Snowdon said affording women full access to all employment roles in the ADF is the final step towards reducing any remaining inequity, and maximises employment opportunities for all personnel – both women and men.
One of the activities that has informed the plan to remove gender restrictions is the review of the Physical Employment Standards. Underpinned by high-level scientific work by Defence in partnership with the University of Wollongong, the process applies a rigorous scientific methodology to identify physically demanding tasks.
“These standards do not differ according to age or sex – they are based purely on physical requirements: the anaerobic and aerobic power, muscular strength and endurance required to perform the range of different roles in the ADF,” Mr Snowdon said.
“Importantly, the standards provide a sound basis for assessing whether someone has the ability to safely and effectively perform in a role.”
Mr Snowdon’s Office: Lidija Ivanovski/Marcus Butler (02) 6277 7820
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999