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Army women inspire at Women in Defence Awards

Two inspirational Army women have won the STEM in Defence Award and Inspirational Award at the Women in Defence 18 Awards. Lt Col Deborah Taylor and Major Nics Wetherill were recognised respectively for their work in STEM, and the ICE MAIDENS expedition.

Sandhurst-based Lt Col Deborah Taylor was the mastermind and driving force behind the first STEM Careers Showcase for secondary school-aged girls hosted at RMAS. A mother of two girls, Lt Col Taylor is a fiercely passionate advocate for maximising opportunities and leading change for young people.

Her citation states: “Through her work, the example she sets and the passion and commitment she exudes, other women have been inspired to follow in her footsteps by organising STEM events by women for women. Lt Col Taylor is an agent for change and a force multiplier in promoting STEM learning, activities and interest amongst young women.”

Maj Nics Wetherill devised, organised and led the ICE MAIDENS expedition; the first all-female crossing of Antarctica using muscle power alone. She led a team of five other women over 1700km, dragging a pulk and battling temperatures of -40 degrees and wind speeds of more than 60mph.

Her citation said: “Maj Wetherill has demonstrated leadership, grit and determination in realising her dream after being told that women would never be able to make the crossing.”

Having whittled 250 applicants down to six through arduous training camps she “inspired an Army of supporters who helped her with her quest. What she has done has been nationally recognised through the media and has inspired a generation of young women to achieve their dreams.”

Six women from the Army made the final 30, a worthy line-up, ranging in rank and comprising women and teams from all three of the Armed Forces, the MOD Civil Service, GCHQ and MI5, defence industry and the Houses of Parliament Security.

The Army finalists were:
Inspirational Award:  LCpl Anna-Louise Stanley, Maj Nics Wetherill,
Outstanding Contribution: Maj Ros Elliott,
Special:  Maj Cleo Bigwood, Sgt Emma Smith
STEM in Defence: Lt Col Deborah Taylor

Following the announcement of nominees, Lt Gen Tim Radford the Army Gender Champion said: “We’re immensely proud of the contribution made by women to the British Army and are delighted to have six Army finalists.

“The Army strives to ensure that all its female officers and soldiers can maximise their talent and realise their potential”.

The Top award of the night was won by Michelle Partington, formerly RAF, who was crowned Woman of the Year. Michelle also won the Special Award for her services to the military.

Angela Owen, Founder Women in Defence UK said of the women: “They are superb ambassadors for the work women do in defence of the nation 100 years after women’s suffrage.”

Find out more about the Women in Defence Awards: http://www.womenindefenceuk.com/