International Women's Day - celebrating those who served

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ON International Women's Day we celebrate the achievements of women across society and give special thanks to those who have supported and served our country in military conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said women have always played an important part in Australia's rich military history and today we acknowledge and remember their service and sacrifice.

"The role of women in the Australian military in peace time and during war has evolved significantly over the last century and today there is no role in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that women can't take on," Mr Chester said.

"In the First World War women worked as nurses in the Australian Army Nursing Service, and others played a crucial role fundraising and producing packages to be sent to deployed soldiers.

"The role of women changed significantly during the Second World War with the formation of the women's auxiliary services, with 50,000 women serving by 1944 and many more supporting the war effort in a civilian capacity through organisations such as the Australian Women's Land Army.

"Following the Second World War women gradually became part of Australia's mainstream defence forces as gender barriers in society were dismantled. However, it wasn't until the early 1980's that the female equivalents of Australia's Defence services were fully integrated."

"Today almost 20 per cent of ADF personnel are women, with almost 11,000 serving in the permanent forces. This includes more than 3,000 women in the Navy, more than 4,000 in the Army, and more than 3,000 in the Air Force. A further 4,500 women serve as part of the ADF Reserve.

"Women are vital to our country's military efforts, which we should all recognise each and every day, but importantly on International Women's Day."

The role Australian women have played during Australia's military history is a focus of the 2020 Anzac Day Mail-Out. Further information about the role of women in Australia's military history can be found on the Anzac Portal.

 
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