On Tuesday 6th November we celebrated the third annual Women in Defence UK Awards at the Imperial War Museum, London.
In a prestigious ceremony hosted by Dame Jenni Murray of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, 270 guests from across the Defence and Security sectors gathered to watch as the Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, announced the winners.
In a year marking both the centenary of women’s suffrage and the end of the Great War, the evening focused on the contribution of women to Defence both past and present. Standing beneath the wings of a World War Two Spitfire, the Defence Secretary spoke of Mary Ellis and the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary. Following the announcement that all frontline roles will be open to women, the evening explored how future generations may contribute to the defence effort. In the words of Dame Jenni Murray “how times have changed.”
With two new categories this year, the breadth and calibre of finalists was greater than ever. Achievements ranged from leading and devising the first all-female team to cross Antarctica, using muscle power alone, to organising the first STEM careers event for 900 secondary school girls at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. And even included a novel method of manipulating E. coli to produce camouflage.
Michelle Partington, a former RAF paramedic won this year’s overall Woman of the Year Award. Since being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Michelle has set up a foundation to help others in a similar position and has since gone on to represent Team UK at the Invictus Games.
If you couldn’t join us on the night, you can see all the highlights from the evening below, or on our YouTube page