Australia’s newly appointed Defence Minister has asked to be judged on her performance, not her gender, as she as she steps into her new role as the first ever female in the job.
“All I ask is that I am judged on my performance, not on my gender”, Senator Payne said.
The Minister did however point out that if her appointment to Australia’s top defence role did encourage more women to join the armed forces, that it would be a welcomed side effect.
“But if as Australia’s first female Defence Minister, I can encourage or that appointment encourages one extra young woman in this nation to consider a career in Defence … then I think that is an absolutely fabulous thing,” she said.
Currently women make up less than 20 percent of all permanent roles in the Australian Defence Force.
Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Andrija Caton has said that working in the Air Force has been great for herself and her family.
“I’ve found the Air Force to be supportive of families, with both my girls getting medical and dental cover,” Lieutenant Andrija Caton said.
Only recently the Australian Defence Force’s job portal Defence Jobs Australia had gender restrictions on a number of positions.
The direct combat position of “Commando” was one which until recently was eligible for male applicants only, however this has recently changed with the government’s decision to open up more direct combat roles to women.
A Transport Corp private who wished to remain anonymous said that he believed women should be eligible to apply for all roles in the Defence Force, so long as there wasn’t a double standard when it came to passing the entry requirements.
“I think if they can pass the course they can be there but there shouldn’t be double standards like the rest of the Defence Force where for women the minimum fitness standard is lower than males.”