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Rheinmetall UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK welcomed as newest signatories of the Women in Defence Charter
Published 12 April 2022

The Women in Defence Charter (WiDC) welcomes two new signatories, Rheinmetall UK and Rheinmetall UK Military Vehicles UK who join the Charter’s growing list of signatories and supporting organisations from across the defence industry including prime manufacturers, SMEs, trade associations and the defence public sector.

By signing the Charter, Rheinmetall Defence UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK pledge to be the very best at driving inclusion and diversity within their organisation which includes providing opportunities for women to succeed at all levels. Rheinmetall UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK has also pledged to the Charter’s ambition of a minimum of 30 per cent female representation at levels across the defence sector by 2030. The Charter was signed by Rebecca Richards, Managing Director RMMV UK and Rheinmetall Defence UK.

Signing the Women in Defence Charter aligns with Rheinmetall Group’s long-term Corporate Social Responsibility strategy which is an integral part of its corporate culture, and it views the diversity of its employees as a strategic success factor. For Rheinmetall Group, diversity holds tremendous potential for the continued growth of the group and signing the Women in Defence Charter is an opportunity to recruit and retain the best talent.

Rebecca Richards, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK said:

“Rheinmetall Defence UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK are honoured to be a signatory of the Women in Defence Charter. We are very proud of the progress we’ve made so far in improving all areas of Diversity Equity and Inclusion.

“We aim to increase the representation of women across the industry so individuals and ideas thrive, our customers get the best from us, and the next generation of women and girls may be inspired to join our mission of becoming the UK’s Land Champion, where the best choose to work.”

Sophie Thomas, Industry Co-Chair of the Women in Defence Charter and Service Delivery Director at AQUILA said:

“The Women in Defence Charter is delighted to welcome Rheinmetall UK and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles UK to the Charter.  They join the Charter’s strong network of more than 55 signatories.

“2022 is an exciting year for the Charter and it is brilliant to see Rheinmetall committing to being the very best at driving inclusion and diversity within their organisation and providing fair opportunities for women to succeed at all levels.  We look forward to working with Rheinmetall as the Charter goes from strength to strength.”

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The Women in Defence Charter
Lockheed Martin International Women's Day Event
Published 5 April 2022

On International Women’s Day 2022, in a first-of-its-type event, the Women in Defence Charter joined Paul Livingston, Chief Executive Lockheed Martin UK Limited, and his team to discuss flexible working and Lockheed Martin’s four-day working week initiative.

Attendees heard from graduates, engineers and working parents about how the ‘opt-in’ model allows them to manage their working patterns around their lives.

The innovative model, termed 4XFlex, has transitioned the Lockheed Martin working pattern from 75 work hours over 9 days, to 75 hours over 8 days combined with hybrid working. These changes enable more flexible childcare, couples to support each other’s careers and to spend more time together, whilst still delivering for Lockheed Martin and their customers.

The event highlighted many important takeaways from the rollout of 4XFlex, one of which was the importance of a culture of trust, implemented from the top by Paul who also works a 4-day week. Another was the recognition that people want to work in a way that suits them, and that for some individuals this may be to remain with a traditional working pattern.

Richard Mckie, signatory work package lead for the Women in Defence Charter, said: “Flexible working isn’t the only solution to achieving gender balance in the defence sector, but it is certainly a tool that can help us achieve the ambition. The discussions raised lots of interest from the audience on how to implement, lessons learnt and hopefully started to change mindsets on flexible working across the sector.”

Thank you to Lockheed Martin UK for hosting the event and for sharing their experiences so openly.

The Women in Defence Charter Announces Ultra as Newest Signatory
Published 26 January 2022

The Women in Defence Charter (WiDC) welcomes their newest signatory, Ultra, in supporting gender balance in the defence sector. Ultra joins the Charter’s growing list of signatories and supporting organisations from across the defence industry, from prime manufacturers, SMEs and trade associations and the defence public sector.

By signing the Charter, Ultra pledges to be the very best at driving inclusion and diversity within their organisation and to provide opportunities for women to succeed at all levels. Ultra has also committed to supporting the progression of women and publishing progress annually against their internal targets. The Charter was signed by Steve Izquierdo, Chief HR Officer and Executive Team member at Ultra. 

Signing the Women in Defence Charter aligns with Ultra’s long-term Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy, which focuses on promoting the fair treatment of everyone within Ultra and its stakeholders. Ultra believes diversity is key to success and so in 2021 created a Uniquely Ultra Employee Resource and Networking Group, which helps shape priorities, raise issues, and share best practice for Ultra. Uniquely Ultra reports directly to Ultra’s Executive Team through the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As a result, Ultra is making a significant commitment to supporting gender balance in the defence industry and transparently reports its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion index scores for 2020 and 2021 and showcases its targets for 2022-2024.

Mark Ealing, VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Ultra said:

“It’s been proven that more diverse and inclusive companies are more successful businesses. One of Ultra’s key areas of focus is to ‘succeed through all types of diversity’ this includes gender balance but also much more.

“We are very proud of the progress we’ve made so far in improving all areas of Diversity Equity and Inclusion. Joining the Women in Defence Charter is another great step in supporting underrepresented groups in the defence industry and accelerating our support and development of women in Ultra.”

Sophie Thomas, Industry Co-Chair of the Women in Defence Charter and Service Delivery Director at AQUILA, said:

“Ultra is a very welcome signatory to the Women in Defence Charter. Their pledge to supporting our 30 per cent female representation at all levels across the defence sector by 2030 is crucial as we look to progress gender balance in the defence industry.

“All at the Women in Defence Charter look forward to working alongside Ultra to drive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the defence sector and create more opportunities for women to succeed at all levels, creating long lasting change.”

Announcing Women in Defence Charter launch 30 by 30 ambition at DSEI 
Published 20 September 2021

Today, the Women in Defence Charter is revealing its new strategy, which sets the ambition of achieving a minimum of 30 per cent female representation at all levels across the defence sector by 2030.

Our 54 Charter signatories have committed to being the best at driving inclusion and diversity within their organisations and providing fair opportunity for women to succeed in the UK defence sector. Through our new strategy, we will work to support the sector in achieving a minimum of 30 per cent female representation by 2030, acting as a resource of information, guidance and best practice, and drawing upon the expertise of our signatories.

The new 30 per cent by 2030 ambition will be supported by the Charter’s three strategic priorities of: using data to inspire signatories to identify and set their own targets to improve gender diversity in their organisations; developing the Charter community to bring together organisations committed to improving gender diversity and inclusion; and leveraging both the data and the Charter Community to drive policy and societal changes, to help improve gender diversity in the sector.

Baroness Goldie, Minister of State for Defence, said:

“I am delighted to support the launch of the 30by30 ambition. For the UK defence industry to continue to be internationally competitive, we must ensure we are recruiting and developing the very best future talent, which will enable success in domestic and international markets. A balanced workforce is good for business, for our customers and our workplace cultures, and for promoting prosperity and stability.”

Morag Stuart, Ministry of Defence Co-Chair, said:

“The UK defence sector is working to achieve a substantial boost in female representation at all levels across our sector, and our new 30 per cent target demonstrates the commitment signatories have to delivering real change and building back better post the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Angela Owen, Women in Defence UK Co-Chair, described today’s launch as:

“A real opportunity for all our signatories to commit to and be ambitious about achieving tangible change by 2030. The 30by30 ambition will support companies across the defence sector in providing fair opportunities for women to succeed in UK defence and ensure female representation at all levels.”

Announcing our exclusive data partner: HR Datahub
Published 23 February 2021

We are delighted to announce we have selected HR DataHub as our exclusive data partner for the Women in Defence Charter. They will help us capture and measure our journey towards better gender representation in the Defence sector.

HR DataHub is a benchmarking platform powered by data directly sourced from organisations. With hundreds of trusted clients in their database, they provide accessible, accurate and relevant benchmark data to enable organisations to make faster and smarter people decisions, in a simple and affordable manner. Together we will use the power of data to support and drive change in the sector.

The first step in our partnership will be the launch of our Annual Reporting process. HR DataHub will be helping us capture and analyse data from all our signatories and co-author our inaugural Women in Defence Charter report. We will be asking all our charter signatories to collaborate with HR DataHub over the next few weeks to complete the reporting questionnaire needed for this and will reach out in the next few days to outline the process in detail.

We are excited about the insights our partnership will unlock and look forward to sharing them with all the signatories in the coming months.

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A Co-Chair's Vision for the Charter: Sophie Thomas, Industry Co-Chair
Published 6 January 2020
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I volunteered to act as the Industry Co-Chair for the Women in Defence Charter because I believe the Charter will help defence to make much needed progress in gender diversity.  

Whilst the existing gender imbalance continues, the sector is missing out on a diversity of opinions, approaches and dynamics, and women across the UK are missing out on exciting and rewarding careers in defence.

At Airbus we care passionately about gender balance, and are proud to be at the forefront of this topic.  My role as the Industry Co-Chair of the Charter is to ensure that industry is appropriately represented within the Charter governance and activities, and I work closely with my co-chairs to ensure this.

For me, there are three key elements to the Charter’s success.   Firstly, it generates impetus and visibility on this important topic.  Secondly, it holds the member organisations to account publicly, helping to maintain the momentum and drive change.  Thirdly, it provides a forum to share best practice across the sector, so we can learn from each other.

After the huge success of our launch in 2019, 2020 will be critical for our progress.  Will we truly make a difference, or will the Charter simply becomes a forgotten piece of paper, consigned to the proverbial bottom drawer.  I intend to do everything I can do to ensure that we continue the momentum together and see genuine progress. 

In early 2020, we plan to hold our first Women in Defence Charter Conference, where we will bring together all the signatories of the Charter to share progress on our work stream activities and to shape our activities for the next 12 months.  I am particularly looking forward to the opportunity this event will give us to exchange on the focused interventions that our signatories are pursuing to drive change in their own organisations, and to discussing our plans to attract more organisations to join and contribute to the momentum: together we have a much louder voice. 

Later in 2020, we will see our first report on the progress of our signatories against the targets they have set themselves.  We recognise the diversity of the sector and that each organisation has its own starting point: what unites us all is the acknowledgment that more needs to be done to improve the gender balance, and our public commitment to take active steps to address it.

Here’s to 2020 and to starting to deliver on the Charter commitments.

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