This is why women in the armed forces are celebrating today

And it's a pretty impressive milestone

Words by Sephora Landu

Women have come a long way in the last 100 years, we’ve managed to secure the vote, protect our reproductive rights, and break into the work place en masse. This month in particular marks a huge achievement for women in the British Armed Forces, who are celebrating 100 of working in the military.

July 2017 marks a century since the founding of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, which allowed British women to legally join the Armed Forces alongside men. Although women started off with non-combative jobs such as cooking, mechanical work and administration, over time women became recognised as being more than capable of doing any job that their male counterparts could do.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), the Armed Forces charity, are celebrating the anniversary with a series of portraits taken by the renowned war photographer Robert Wilson, to celebrate women who have or are currently serving in the armed forces. The twelve women, photographed in today’s Daily Mail,  include Dame Kelly Holmes who joined the Armed Forces when she was just eighteen (and went on to become an Olympic champion), a 96-year-old World War Two veteran, and a transgender woman who served in the Royal Air Force before her transition.

The chief executive of SSAFA Sir Andrew Gregory told the Daily Mail, ‘Women have been officially serving our country for a century. It is right that we take a moment to pause, reflect and celebrate their contribution. It is essential that we continue to promote inclusivity and diversity throughout our Armed Forces in order to benefit from the talent that exists across British society.’

Since 1917, women have fought alongside men in nearly fifty wars, including the Korean War, both World Wars, The Gulf War and Afghanistan. Talk about #GirlPower.

For more information about SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity and the Women100 campaign, visit ssafa.org.uk/women100

 

Reading now

Popular