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Breaking the bias at Defence Infrastructure Organisation

Category: Women, testimonial, Armed forces, Jobs in Government, inspirational women, International Women’s Day, Staff Testimonial, Infrastructure, UK Government, Civil Service, ministry of defence, celebrating women, MOD, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Civil Servant, DIO, senior women, career for women, leading women, Opportunities for women, Influential women, Armed Forces community, International Women’s Day 2022, inspiring women

Gender Focus

What does #BreakTheBias mean to you?

International Women’s Day (IWD) took place on 8th March with the theme #BreakTheBias, so now is a good time to reflect upon and celebrate some of the fantastic achievements of women within Defence. Historically it was the ground breaking work of the cryptologists at Bletchley Park during the Second World War; the increased prominence of women in senior postings across the Ministry of Defence; or that, as of 2019, all British Armed Forces roles opened to women; the MOD continues to demonstrate the steps it is taking to shatter the preconception that Defence is just a man’s world.

The #BreakTheBias theme encompasses the Defence Infrastructures Organisation’s commitment to building a gender-balanced, equal and inclusive environment.

Changing perception

History, tradition and cultural norms are embedded in most departments. Perhaps it could be this, and the very imposing nature of Defence, that can play a part in the mistaken perception that the Defence workforce is dominated by men, and that women find it difficult to infiltrate, rise to prominence and succeed.

Below we hear from women within DIO, acting as role models – they build bridges between genders, regardless of rank, and encourage the next generation to keep working towards their goals – the sky is the limit, not the glass ceiling.

Sarah Young — PS to CEO

‘The opportunity to develop, learn and grow in DIO is incredible. Whether that’s through qualifications, training or mentoring, there is something for everyone that will support you in building the career you want. As a woman in DIO, I have benefitted hugely from sharing these opportunities with other women. I’ve never felt so encouraged to continue, and I hope to become as inspirational as some of the extraordinary women I get to work with.’  Sarah Young - PS to CEO

Kate Harrison — DIO Hd Finance

‘Working in Defence has meant being part of a focused team that welcomes the views and values of a diverse range of people from all backgrounds. The sense of belonging and purpose is all encompassing and I felt it as soon as I walked through the door four years ago. I receive support and encouragement daily as well as constructive and candid feedback on what I can do better.’ Kate Harrison - DIO CFO 

 Jennifer Gill - DIO Transformation and Change and Gender Forum co-chair

‘I have met and worked with many women which have motivated and inspired me over the years in DIO. Mentors, line managers, colleagues and fellow staff network volunteers, from wider Civil Service, too. It has also been very inspirational for me to see more women in senior leadership positions in DIO. I am delighted to join the DIO Gender Forum as Co-Chair where I can continue to support other women through the Crossing Thresholds Programme and monthly women’s wellness sessions.’ Jennifer Gill - DIO Transformation and Change and Gender Forum co-chair

Cdre Sharon Malkin — Head Customer Support Team

‘Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day every day. We all have opportunities to break the bias in our workplace. In my current role in DIO I’m looking to support the D&l Community through commitments in my Customer Support Team Engagement Plan, setting up a network for DIO engineers with Richard Lowey, supporting the Defence Engineering Champion’s D&l campaign, keeping up with training available on Civil Service Learning and the Defence Learning Environment, and enrolling on some great Leadership courses with the Defence Academy.’ Cdre Sharon Malkin — Head Customer Support Team


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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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Defence Infrastructure Organisation

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