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March 18, 2010
By SBLT Ellen Shields
THE progress and accomplish-
ments of women in the Navy and
Defence was evident when about
100 RAN officers and sailors and
APS managers gathered at the
RAN Heritage Centre to celebrate
International Women's Day (IWD)
on March 8.
The Navy personnel joined with
Defence APS managers to discuss a
range of topics and issues that were
also addressed at scores of other
IWD celebrations at military bases
throughout the country.
The discussion provided women
from all areas and ranks from
Kuttabul, Waterhen and Penguin and
Fleet HQs with the opportunity to
tell their stories about their progress
and achievements, particularly in
regard to their command responsi-
bilities of warships and shore estab-
CMDR Christine Clarke, CO
HMAS Kuttabul, hosted the discus-
sion, which focused on the increas-
ing duties women are playing in the
Navy, ADF and the wider commu-
nity.In her opening address, CMDR
Clarke acknowledged the First
Officer of the Women's Royal
Australian Naval Service (WRANS),
Sheila McClemans, a distinguished
lawyer and women's rights advocate
and also Director of WRANS during
CMDR Clarke also announced
the establishment of 'Women in
Leadership in Navy at Kuttabul', as
a forum that will provide practical
support for women in leadership, by
women, in the RAN.
CMDR Jennifer Wittwer, New
Generation Navy (NGN) Futures
Manager, spoke about how far
women had come since her enlist-
ment in the Navy.
CMDR Wittwer said changes
to the recruiting and retention of
women had lifted their numbers to
19 per cent of the Navy's workforce,
and improvements through NGN had
afforded women greater flexibility to
remain working in the RAN.
"Because of these changes great-
er retention figures of women work-
ing in the Navy are expected in the
future," she said.
IWD was established in 1911
when women were fighting for
issues of pay, conditions and politi-
During International Women's
Year in 1975, IWD was given
official recognition by the United
Nations as a global day celebrating
the economic, political and social
achievements of women in the past,
present and future.
Great future for
By CHAP Steve Gunther
AN ENTHUSIASTIC team of 15 sail-
ors from HMAS Toowoomba (CMDR
Ivan Ingham) completed their own ver-
sion of a 'Backyard Blitz' recently to
help out Chesterfield House, a local WA
Youth Crisis Accommodation Centre.
Chesterfield House is an Anglicare
initiative and provides crisis accommoda-
tion for homeless and endangered youths
aged between 15 and 20.
CMDR Ingham said the ship under-
stood the value and importance of con-
necting with their local community.
"It's not just the ship, which is based
here at Garden Island that provides
the connection, but the fact that most
of Toowoomba's crew and families live
and work in the immediate Rockingham
area," CMDR Ingham said.
"Toowoomba's engagement with such
a worthy cause provides an enormously
rewarding opportunity to give something
back to the local community.
"Our own version of a 'Backyard
Blitz' was a great way to get involved
and make a difference."
The team from Toowoomba worked
side by side with youth residents and the
staff of Chesterfield House and members
of the local Rotary.
Chesterfield House manager Valda
Culverhouse said she was absolutely
delighted by the transformation.
"The results Toowoomba's crew
achieved were truly amazing," she said.
GREEN THUMBS: Members of HMAS Toowoomba's crew plant a garden
bed at Chesterfield House.
GIRL POWER: CMDR Jennifer Wittwer addresses the audience at the 2010 International Women's Day
conference at HMAS Kuttabul on March 8. The conference was held at the RAN Heritage Centre, with
the posters surrounding the seating area serving as a poignant reminder of how far Navy women have
come over the years.
Photo: ABIS Hayley Clarke
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