In a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Wednesday, Angela Owen received her OBE for her services to women within the defence sector. Angela, a former Army officer, has spent the past ten years improving the lives of those within defence by promoting ‘Equality of Opportunity.
The Women in Defence UK Network started as a small LinkedIn group in 2011 to connect the women from across defence. The group has grown bigger than anyone could have anticipated and is best known for its annual awards. The Awards celebrate incredible work, inspire and promote the value of women who work in defence of the nation.
With the 2021 awards receiving over 400 nominations and the social media footprint reaching over 7 million impressions, it is evident that the Women in Defence UK community has a genuine impact. The community has grown to support, give confidence, and guide those who strive to challenge views and break barriers.
In an interview after the ceremony, Angela Said:
“I left the army and joined a consulting company. I would go to seminars and conferences, and there would be 100 men in the room and half a dozen women, and it was just so nice to see women.
“I thought, let’s set up a networking group, and that’s how it started.”
She added: “It’s helped to give women the confidence to be women and not perhaps feel like they have to be men to succeed in defence. The awards make women think that they can be themselves.
“But they also say to the rest of defence – by the way, these women are brilliant, please make sure that you listen to them, and help get more women into the defence sector.”
Phillippa Spencer OBE, Women in Defence UK 2019 Woman of the year, was also in attendance at Windsor Castle on Wednesday. Phillippa, the senior principal statistician at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, received her award for her services to defence, particularly during the Covid-19 response. The recognition of these incredible women is not only deserved but is also essential for the younger generations to see that there are no limits to what a woman can achieve.
Angela Owen commented: “There's no reason why a young girl now can't come into defence and have just as fulfilling a career, first of all as any man, but also than in any other sector."
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