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Army celebrates International Women's Day

08 March 2017

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women all over the world.

The modern British Army seeks to promote equality throughout all its ranks and trades, and supports International Women’s Day’s efforts to highlight the disparity of gender throughout the world.

Women currently make up about 10% of British Army personnel and can be found working shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts, whether they may be engineers or educators; logisticians or lawyers; mechanics or medics; drivers, Apache pilots or chefs. For over 100 years women have served alongside men on the battlefield; carrying weapons and saving lives.

The Army is making clear and positive statements about its attitude to inclusivity. Attraction and retention of the best talent requires a reputation as an inclusive employer which recognises and values difference; focuses on fairness for the individual, helping them to achieve their potential.

Today, in the British Army there are over 200 different roles available, and 95% of all soldiers will undertake an apprenticeship. Flexible working has been introduced to ensure people can balance their work demands with quality time and personal commitments.

We understand the clear link between flexibility and agile working, well-being and strong performance. We want an organisation where all staff are respected and valued, a safe and comfortable working environment for all our personnel. Our leaders set out to maximise the talent and potential of all personnel by implementing new initiatives and maintaining a climate that encourages equality of opportunity and inclusion.

Army musician Kendall Lewis

On International Women’s Day, Army Musician Kendall Lewis, 23, from Redditch in the West Midlands, is very proud to highlight how well women are integrated into the British Army, working alongside and in all but frontline combat roles, doing exactly the same job as men.

“It is an amazing experience being a Trumpeter on the Queen’s Life Guard; very special and a great privilege.” said Musician Kendall Lewis. When Her Majesty The Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace a Trumpeter riding a white charger announces the arrival of the Queen’s Life Guard (which is currently all male) and leads them to their duties at Horse Guards.

Soldiers were first employed as Trumpeters in the Household Cavalry from the early 1660s, with distinctive uniforms not unlike the state dress that is worn today. Their main job was to communicate routine message calls, and the many orders in camp. Today, ceremonial Trumpeters are professional musicians and perform fanfares at important state occasions. When in the presence of the Royal Family, Trumpeters from the Band of the Household Cavalry are referred to as State Trumpeters and wear gold state coats bearing the royal insignia, and a blue velvet jockey cap.

“As a Trumpeter you are very much in the spotlight. The focus is on you as you stand alone to perform, all eyes and ears on you”. said Kendall, but for Musician Lewis, it is all in a day’s work. Principally a French horn player with the Band of the Household Cavalry, Musician Lewis, volunteered to take on the additional role of Trumpeter when the opportunity recently arose.

With a love of music and a passion for horses, being a mounted musician is Kendall Lewis’s dream job. She knew that she wanted to be in the Army from childhood, and working with the Band has allowed her to combine all her interests in one. When she is not fulfilling her role as Trumpeter for the Queen’s Life Guard, Kendall plays in the Band and can regularly be seen accompanying the Foot Guards at the Changing of the Guard ceremonies at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

The musicians will be particularly busy during this, Her Majesty The Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee year, and will be performing on the Queen’s Birthday Parade, various State Visits and Beating of the Retreat throughout the summer.

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