Women’s Leadership Forum
5 April 2016
On a recent evening in March, a Women's Leadership forum was hosted by the US-led international coalition at Australia's main air operating base in the Middle East region.
A panel of seven female military members led the forum, with Australia represented on the panel by RAAF Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Robyn Kidd.
FLTLT Kidd, one of three female RAAF Chaplains, joined the Air Force in 2010 and is currently enjoying her first deployment.
"I got very excited during the lead up to this deployment to the Middle East, and now that I'm here, I'm making the most of every opportunity," said Chaplain Kidd.
"One of the great things I'm getting involved in is discussing women's issues in the military environment, and the Women's Leadership Forum was a great platform for this topic."
The panel of seven female military members leading the forum held a wide range of ranks, and over 70 years combined military service. They each presented a short story to a crowd of male and female Australian and American military personnel. Each member of the panel talked about the position they held, the challenges they faced, and what it means for them to be a female in the military.
Chaplain Kidd said that she saw the forum as a great opportunity to share her own experiences; however, she was just as enthusiastic to hear from United States Air Force female personnel.
"The Australian and United States Air Force are world leaders in diversity and equality, and this forum was a great opportunity to inspire future leaders and help with the continued advancement of women in the Military," said Chaplain Kidd.
"I was interested to hear if their stories and experiences were similar to ours."
Chaplain Kidd was impressed with the turn out for the forum and equally impressed with the level of involvement from the crowd.
"I was really impressed with how many men and women attended the forum and how many people asked some really great questions," said Chaplain Kidd.
"No matter what your gender or role within the military, it's always important for everyone to achieve the best possible results.
"As we share our experiences with one another, the more we will all learn and benefit."
The Australian Air Task Group (ATG) of Operation OKRA is operating at the request of the Iraqi Government within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations in the Middle East Region (MER).
The ATG is comprised of around 350 personnel, six RAAF F/A-18A Hornet fighter aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne command and control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport air-to-air refueling aircraft. Additionally, the ATG has personnel working in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and embedded with the 'KingPin' US tactical Command and Control Unit.
The ATG is directly supported by the Combat Support Unit of Operation ACCORDION, whose mission is to provide continuous combat support to sustain air operations in the MER.