Defence Secretary Ben Wallace blasts Army discrimination against women

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace blasts Army over sex discrimination saying it is ‘woefully behind’ on providing good careers to women ahead of showdown talks with top generals on bullying and harassment

  • Wallace meets top brass later over concerns about the treatment of women
  • Two-thirds of female soldiers reported experiencing bullying, sexual harassment
  • Army also under pressure over hushed up 2012 murder of a Kenyan sex worker

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today blasted the British Army’s attitude to women today, saying it needs to become more welcoming to female soldiers.

Mr Wallace took aim at the UK’s land’s forces, saying the army was ‘woefully behind’ when it came to picking ‘future leaders’ who are not men.

The Defence Secretary will meet senior generals later to address concerns around the treatment of women in and by the British military. 

The meeting follows a report into the treatment of female soldiers which found that almost two thirds had experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination while serving in the Army.

UK forces are also under pressure after the murder of a Kenyan sex worker in 2012, which was reportedly committed by a British soldier and covered up.

‘We have got to make sure the Army is picking the right leaders, the future leaders. We have got to make sure we are doing more than enough to make sure we have women welcome in the army and enjoy a future career in the army,’ Mr Wallace told Sky News.

 ‘We are woefully behind the rest – not only of parts of the armed forces – but the rest of the public sector. We have to do more on that front.’

Mr Wallace took aim at the UK’s land’s forces, saying the army was ‘woefully behind’ when it came to picking ‘future leaders’ who are not men.

A report into the bullying and sexual harassment of female soldiers found that almost two thirds had experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination while serving in the Army.

The report by Tory MP and former soldier Sarah Atherton was put together from interviews with more than 4,000 servicewomen and female veterans.

It also included accounts of rape or sex for advancement. Nearly 40 per cent of 993 women asked reported that their experience of the complaints system was ‘extremely poor’.

Six out of 10 women said they had not reported bullying, harassment or discrimination due to a lack of faith in the system.

There are more than 20,000 women currently serving in the armed forces.

In a statement, the Army said it was working with the Defence Secretary to ‘drive out unacceptable behaviour at all levels’.

‘The Secretary of State is determined to work with the Army’s leadership to drive out unacceptable behaviour at all levels, particularly with respect to the treatment of women,’ an Army spokesperson said.

‘The Army’s core value of respect for others must underpin everything it delivers on behalf of the nation, whether in the United Kingdom or operating around the world.’

Kenyan police have reopened their investigation into the murder of a young mother who was last seen with a British soldier from a nearby military base.

Mother-of-one Agnes Wanjiru, 21, was found in a septic tank behind the Lions Court Hotel in Nanyuki, close to the British Army Training Unit Kenya camp, two months after she disappeared in March 2012.

Ms Wanjiru, a prostitute, had reportedly been partying with soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment on the night she went missing. 

 The Sunday Times last month reported that a British soldier – named only as Soldier X – confessed to killing Ms Wanjiru and showed comrades where he dumped her body, and the crime was reported but dismissed by military officials.

Ms Wanjiru, a prostitute, had reportedly been partying with soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment on the night she went missing.

The Sunday Times last month reported that a British soldier – named only as Soldier X – confessed to killing Ms Wanjiru and showed comrades where he dumped her body, and the crime was reported but dismissed by military officials.

Armed Forces minister James Heappey arrived in Nanyuki last week, where he promised Britain would ‘leave no stone unturned’ in the hunt for the young mother’s murderer. 

His comments follow newspaper claims that a soldier confessed to a colleague that he had killed Miss Wanjiru, who left behind a five-month-old daughter.

The RMP is now looking into whether troops from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and Royal Army Medical Corps had a role in the murder.

Source: Read Full Article