Sisterhood is having its heyday…
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So here’s the story: when Marie Claire’s Creative Media Manager Carla Baylis rockedup to the Royal Artillery Barracks in London to train with the women of the King’s Troop she was expecting to face some challenging moments. ‘I thought everyone would be as tough as nails,’ she says. ‘But they were really easy to talk to. Everyone was professional and very down to earth.’
Her mission? To find out about Army culture, life as a woman soldier and to see if the camaraderie that soldiers are renowned for is fact or fiction. ‘It’s definitely fact,’ says Carla. ‘You can really see everyone pulling together and working as a team. All the officers and soldiers I met put this down to the tough situations you inevitably experience in the Army and how you learn to lean on each other to get through them.’
This camaraderie applies to men and women. ‘One soldier said some of her best friends in the Army are men and that gender doesn’t come into the equation as everyone is part of one team,’ says Carla. There’s no glass ceiling in the Army, either. You rise through the ranks according to your achievements and you get the same pay as your male colleagues. There are also excellent pension and maternity packages, plus benefits such as childcare support.
But it’s not all tough stuff in the army – there’s time to let your hair down too, with lots of work dos. Plus there’s the opportunity to travel the world with the Army’s sports teams, racking up once- in-a-lifetime experiences. ‘They also have something called Adventurous Training to build teamwork,’ says Carla. ‘You could be diving in Malta, jungle trekking in Brunei, skiing in the Alps or mountaineering in the Dolomites in northern Italy.’
So what about Army culture? ‘At the end of my day at the barracks we had drinks,’ says Carla. ‘Everyone was dressed to the nines in their ceremonial uniforms but they were very chilled out and so friendly. Being in uniform somehow made it more fun. It felt like a special end to a special day.’
‘I came away realising that being in the Army is more than a career,’ says Carla. ‘It’s a lifestyle and your work mates are your best friends. Everyone looks after each other and that’s quite amazing.’
To find out more about life in the Army and career opportunities, or how to become a Reservist, simply search marieclaire.co.uk/army.