Network relaunches on International Women's Day

Have you got time to inspire, help and empower fellow women in the RN?

If so the Naval Servicewomen’s Network wants to hear from you as it launches a mentoring scheme to spread expertise and experience to serving women of all ages and ranks.

It’s an initiative unveiled by the network to mark International Women’s Day. It’s using the key diary date to raise awareness of its existence and role, while its new chair is touring pretty much the entire RN estate to talk to female personnel about wide-ranging issues such as inclusion, behaviour and leadership.

The network was formed six years ago and embraces servicewomen in all arms of the Service – RN, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary – in every branch/trade and at every rank “to ensure all Naval Servicewomen’s voices are heard”.

Sailors such as Rachael Lloyd who represents able seamen on the network’s committee:

“ABs make up the largest proportion of Naval Servicewomen and I joined the network to represent them and to provide a voice for the most junior members of the Service.

“I want to dispel myths that leadership and empowerment is just for officers and provide an active role in the recruitment of women, which is a long-standing challenge in the Service.”

I want to dispel myths that leadership and empowerment is just for officers and provide an active role in the recruitment of women, which is a long-standing challenge in the Service.

AB Rachael Lloyd

LWtr Natasha Millington chairs the London Branch and acts as the voice of leading hands and says joining the network has been nothing but positive.

“It has made me more aware of the number of Servicewomen in London alone – and with a greater inclusion in the wider Royal Navy, I feel a sense of belonging,” she added.

“I’ve gained confidence in the knowledge that there’s 24/7 support and always someone on hand in the Network if I need it.”

Which is music to the ears of Commander Rachel Smallwood who took over from the network’s inaugural chair, Commodore Ellie Ablett, at the end of last year.

“I am passionate about enabling people to achieve their potential, whether as individuals or when working in teams,” said Rachel’s, who is the MOD’s senior staff officer for training and education policy.

“Throughout my tenure as chair, I hope to share this passion, so that the network is an enabler to all Naval Servicewomen to achieve their potential, achieving what they didn’t think would be possible.”

She’s already visited Faslane, Sultan, Collingwood, Excellent, Culdrose, Yeovilton and Abbey Wood to discuss the network’s work, encourage new members/representatives and gauge what Naval Servicewomen hope the group will deliver for them.

She’ll be at Lympstone on March 18, Raleigh on April 9, Devonport the next day (am) and in the afternoon BRNC.

As for the mentoring scheme, prospective mentors should log into Defence Gateway and register their interest via the Naval Servicewomen’s Mentoring Network site, or contact Cdr Kara Chadwick.

Once sufficient mentors have been signed up, the network will begin advertising for women who wish to benefit from the new service to come forward.

And for more info about the network, including where to find your local branch, visit its new-look website on MODNET.