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Reflections on our Critical Mass Summit 2024 by Babcock 

'Reflections on the Day'

Alexandra Lee, Programme Director, Babcock

Last week, I spent a thought-provoking day at the Women in Defence UK Critical Mass Summit as we focused on a very important question - 'How do we retain women in the Defence sector?'

It was a pleasure to join the 'Reflections on the Day' – Your Questions Answered’ panel, representing Babcock as the Pankhurst Partner, for a lively discussion alongside guest speakers.

With over 60 organisations participating, the commitment to achieving critical mass is clear - somewhere in the zone when women reach 20% - 30% of an institution, things begin to change.

Topics ranged from 'Parenting Out Loud' and supporting working dads to enable gender equality (Elliott Rae), to being introduced to the term 'Queenager' (Eleanor Mills) and how important this group of women are for organisations to retain and how pivotal they have been in paving the way for other women. As well as insight from Charlotte Woodworth who shared key observations from the Times Top 50 Employers for Gender Equality 2024.

Supporting the retention of women is key to meeting the Women in Defence charter which sets out an ambition that 30% of all roles will be filled by women by 2030.

The Importance of Critical Mass 

Louise Atkinson, Chief People Officer, Babcock

As a Pankhurst Partner, we are committed to challenging the status quo, engaging in meaningful conversations and breaking down barriers to inclusion.

The world is a turbulent place. As we face rapidly evolving global challenges, the Defence sector’s need for exceptional talent has never been more critical.

Babcock’s purpose to create a safe and secure world, hinges on the collective efforts of the brightest minds. While significant strides have been made toward achieving gender balance and fostering inclusion within Defence, the journey toward an industry where women can truly thrive is far from over.

The summit is a pivotal moment for us to unite, exchange ideas, and challenge ourselves to accelerate our efforts in attracting and retaining a critical mass of women in Defence. It’s not just a meeting, but a beacon of change and progress. It stands as testament to our shared commitment to equality and a tribute to the women who have paved the way in the Defence sector. I look forward to carrying their legacy forward, inspiring future generations and continuing our relentless pursuit of a balanced and inclusive Defence industry.

If we’re going to improve retention of female talent in Defence, we’ve got to address the barriers that exist to women’s progress. Some might be practical barriers, like lack of facilities, or cultural barriers, like how we recruit, or the way we promote, women in organisations. We’ve got to start having some good and honest conversations about these barriers and what steps we can take to remove them.

Babcock is proud to partner with Women in Defence and committed to improving gender balance, driving inclusion and diversity, and providing fair opportunities for women to succeed. We’re creating more equitable, diverse, and inclusive working environments where everyone can fulfil their potential.

Together, we can make a difference and change the face of defence.