Today the British Army has been included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2020. This is the 10th year that the Times Top 50 Employers for Women has been published in partnership with Business in the Community.
The list celebrates UK employers which are building gender equality into their business strategy and have committed to creating inclusive workplace cultures and women’s progression at work. Their efforts are enabling women and men to contribute equally to society.
The Army is extremely pleased to have been recognised in this way and prides itself on the huge progress it has made towards gender equality. Huge changes in policy and commitment have taken place over the last few years to ensure that the Army is a modern, attractive and rewarding place for all to serve. It is not just about recruiting female talent, but also ensuring that talent is supported throughout a full and rewarding career.
The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said: “I am delighted that the Army has again been included in this important list in recognition of the progress the Army continues to make to ensure that every single person counts. No institution is beyond reform and improvement and the Army is changing for the better".
Gender Equality Campaign Director, Business in the Community, Charlotte Woodworth said; “This year marks ten years of the awards, and the bar was especially high. A decade of expertise and experience underpins Business in the Community’s assessment, which sees organisations reviewed across a wide range of areas including transparency around pay practices, family-friendly policies and to what extent the gender equality agenda is embedded into wider strategy.”
The Army pay structure ensures that employees of any gender are treated equally and is based purely on defined job roles and seniority, and in 2019 the Army opened all roles to women. Additionally, the Army's flexible working policy (which includes remote and part time working options, leave for parents and carers, maternity policy and career breaks) is open to all of the work force allowing individuals to balance life commitments with the needs of the Army.
In 2019, the Army implemented flexible service, allowing all Service personnel to apply to work in one of three levels allowing varying levels of time commitment and flexibility. For an organisation that is ready at all times, this signifies a significant shift that benefits the whole force. Whilst all Service personnel benefit from flexible service, this has a powerful impact on women. The Army is already seeing evidence that the implementation of flexible service is allowing women to continue serving beyond key life events, which previously they may have found hard to balance with military service.
In addition, the Army continues to educate about inappropriate behaviour and how, if it occurs, such behaviour should be tackled. In so doing, the Army ensures that personnel remain aligned with the Army’s Values and Standards. Annual training reinforces the zero-tolerance policy as well as encouraging discussion. The Army has a robust complaints system where grievances are dealt with by an external ombudsman, and an anonymous confidential helpline ‘Speak Out’ has been set up. The success of these initiatives is regularly assessed.
This is not the end of the journey to gender equality, but the Army is committed to make the changes to be a place that attracts the best talent which encourages that talent to thrive.
Find out more: Women in the Army