Women Encouraged to Enlist in Navy

BY JERRY SEFE ( Post Courier )

 

Papua New Guinea needs more women to join the Navy despite it being regarded as a male dominated profession.

The maritime element in the country is the naval branch of the PNGDF, being mainly a light patrol force responsible for defending local waters of the country.

Speaking at a workshop in Port Moresby on Wednesday, Warrant officer of Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Wayne Dyke said this year’s focus is on empowering women in the maritime element in PNG and around the world.

“By doing so we identify the opportunities and challenges of all women in the Navy and the Maritime Element to achieve their dream and choices while serving in the force,” Mr Dyke said.

“But our aim now is to make sure there are right documents and strategies developed and set in place to help PNG encourage more women to join navy and maritime element.”

The RNZN team of male and female officers also outlined in their presentation that the key challenges that women today face are; retention, recruitment, work-life balance and the kind of development and trade imbalance in navy.

However, the opportunities include the flexible working of 8-hours for women, positive family support, effective parental leave of 18-weeks working and 12-months leave with a new breast feeding policy established to support RNZN women in navy.

The most important opportunity for RNZN women in navy is the significance of RNZN women’s development forum and steering committee responsible for providing support and advice for women in navy.

The workshop also identified that RNZN has a current record of 501 female officers out of 2173 naval officers with different ranks working in various departments. The youngest is 17 year olds to oldest 61 year olds.

RNZN’s longest serving females range from 35 years of service while out of the 501 females, RNZN has a parental record of 127 children including step children with range of ethnicities compared to PNG.

However for PNG only men were given the opportunity to undergo trainings to serve in the Navy and PNGDF Maritime Element in the past.

Today females are also given the opportunity to join Navy as Midshipman or Seaman while inheriting other male dominated carriers within three primary roles; support for military operations, EEZ protection, and heavy logistic support for the army and civil society.

Representatives from the other countries also pledged to work in partnership to help develop PNG Navy and the Maritime Element forces while providing support for each other.

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