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Saturday 16 December 2017

Defence Forces targeting women who play sports in recruitment drive on social media

Leading example: Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Leading example: Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Military chiefs are to target young women who play sports to boost the number of females in the Defence Forces.

A focus on taking in more women will again be a feature in the 2017 recruitment campaign for the organisation.

Efforts so far to attract more female candidates have met only with limited success.

But a big push is likely to be sanctioned in the coming year with greater reach in campaigns through the use of social media and exploiting data that is already showing young sports-playing women share similar values and motivations to those seeking a career in the Defence Forces. The Defence Forces recently won a Cannes silver lion award for its work in those areas.

Defence Minister Paul Kehoe has set a target of doubling the number of women in the Defence Forces from the current 6pc to 12pc in the next five years. Mr Kehoe is also backing the appointment of women to senior decision-making and leadership posts within the organisation.

Earlier this year, the first female officer to be appointed to the prestigious post of officer commanding a Defence Forces contingent on an overseas mission was sanctioned when Lieutenant Colonel Mary Carroll was placed in charge of Irish peacekeeping troops in the UNDOF mission on the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel.

In another first for military women, Maureen O'Brien was promoted to the rank of colonel.

Mr Kehoe said the promotion of a strong gender perspective would be a key element of all peacekeeping operations.

A gender adviser has been appointed to promote equality policies and training within the organisation. Work is also almost completed on a military equality and diversity policy.

Gerry Rooney, general secretary of PDFORRA, the association representing soldiers, sailors and air crew, called for the involvement of women in small conflict resolution units.

He said those units would benefit from the inclusion of women in sorting out cultural conflicts.

Irish Independent

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