In a time of austerity and cuts within military budgets we have this; LAUNCH OF THE ARMY WOMENS NETWORK ISSUE 1. Details of the Launch of the Army Womens Network on 24 Nov 11. TARGET AUDIENCE 2. All Regular and TA Commanders and Commanding Officers and G1 branches for dissemination throughout the Chain of Command. KEY POINTS Working in partnership with the DM(A) Employment Branch, and with CGS as its patron, the Army Womens Network aims to provide empathic support to soldiers and the Chain of Command on issues that particularly have an affect upon women serving in the Army. The network is open to both men and women. The network provides an information portal on ArmyNET providing easy access via intranet and internet links to existing policy and information on issues affecting women in the Army. A forum page exists so that personnel, male and female, can openly discuss issues particularly affecting women in the Army and seek support, advice and guidance from others. The network will run a yearly 1 day conference which will include motivational speakers, networking opportunities and facilitation of information distribution and collation of feedback. The inaugural conference is to be held at the Army HQ on 8 Mar 12. Key to the success of the network is the understanding that it is not replacing the role of the Chain of Command, but supporting and enhancing it. Facebook and Twitter sites in support of the Army Womens Network will also be launched on 24 Nov 11. EXTRACTION FOR UNIT ROUTINE ORDERS 3. The following is to be repeated in Unit Routine Orders: The Army Womens Network, to be launched on 24 Nov 11, aims to provide empathic support to soldiers and the Chain of Command on issues affecting women in the Army. The Army Womens Network, open to men and women, will achieve this support function via an ArmyNET information portal and forum page as well as an annual conference. Further information can be found at the following internet address: www.armynet.mod.uk/awn BACKGROUND 4. Women represent a minority group within the Army (8%). This means that it can prove difficult for women in the Army to find other female peers from whom to seek empathic support and advice. 5. Equally, the Chain of Command or serving soldiers may wish to gain female-specific advice on handling issues or challenges particularly affecting women in the Army but have no readily available point of contact. The Network does not replace the role of the Chain of Command but aims to support it. 6. Only 4.8% of Army officers in the rank of Lt Col and above are female. This results in a lack of visible senior female role models for women to aspire to. Women in the Army may therefore be less aware of the opportunities available to them. The Army Womens Network aims to support and promote the role of women in the Army and to enhance the positive image of the Army in support of females in the workplace. The Army Womens Network does not want to stereotype women, but break some of the stereotyping that occurs and that may lead to misconceptions on the position, role and employment of women in the workplace. Glad to see the MoD has its priorities right.