Defence Committee issues call for written evidence on Women in the Armed Forces

The Defence Committee has issued a call for written evidence on Women in the Armed Forces.

The Defence Sub-Committee on Women in the Armed Forces published a report in July 2021 putting forward a series of recommendations in order to improve the experiences of Servicewomen and female veterans. The Government response, published in December 2021, agreed with a large number of the recommendations.

The Committee held a follow-up session with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) last November regarding the progress made on matters raised in the report.

On 14 November 2023, the Committee intends to hold a second follow-up session hearing from the MOD. Ahead of this, the Committee is calling for written evidence on whether enough change has been seen in the two years since the report was published.

Chair’s comment

Chair of the Sub-Committee on Women in the Armed Forces, Sarah Atherton MP, said:

“Improving the experiences of women in the Armed Forces – whether they are currently serving or veterans – remains a priority for the Defence Committee.

“In May the Committee published whistleblower evidence from MOD medics revealing unacceptable behaviour towards female servicewomen and poor handling of complaints. In our report we called for cases of sexual assault and rape to be removed from the military courts and Service Justice System and for the Service Complaints system to be reformed. Although progress has been made, it is clear that the issues raised in our report persist.

“Today we are issuing a new call for evidence, ahead of our session in November. We are pleased that the MOD has lifted restrictions on serving personnel contributing to this inquiry. We welcome contributions from everyone, especially serving personnel and veterans. Due to the sensitive nature of some of the issues this inquiry covers, confidentiality and anonymity are options for those who want to submit evidence.

“We hope to hear about any changes, both positive and negative, that have occurred since the publication of our report. We want to know what steps need to be taken next in order to ensure that women in the Armed Forces are treated with the parity and respect they deserve.”

The Committee welcomes written evidence on the following questions:

  • How much change has there been in past two years, when it comes to improving the experiences of female Service personnel and/or female veterans?
  • What specific changes are you aware of against the Committee’s initial recommendations?
  • Are there areas where you hope to see more change?
  • Do you see ‘easy wins’ for the Services/MOD?
  • What has helped or hindered change?

Form of written evidence:

Submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words. The main body of any submission should use numbered paragraphs. Each submission should contain:

  • a short summary, perhaps in bullet point form;
  • a brief introduction about the person or organisation submitting evidence, for example explaining their area of expertise or experience;
  • any factual information from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses;
  • any recommendations for action by the Government or others which the submitter would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its report to the House.

The committee wants to hear your views. You can submit evidence until Wednesday 25 October 2023. Find out more and submit evidence here:

Submissions should be in malleable format such as MS Word (not PDFs) with no use of colour or logos.

Guidance on submitting written evidence and data protection information is available here: Guidance on submitting written evidence.

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