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Flying high: celebrating women in Ipswich

(left) Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Commander Combat Support Group, Air Commodore Veronica Tyler, speaks with (right) RAAF No. 1 Security Forces Task Unit Commander Squadron Leader William Drewitt-Smith, about the security training being conducted at the Commando Warrior Training Facility, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Images: Defence

The Royal Australian Air Force has had senior females for some time but Air Commodore Veronica Tyler is the first female Force Element Group commander in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Air Commodore Tyler is the new Commander Combat Support Group and Senior ADF Officer Amberley.

Air Commodore Tyler is in direct command of approximately 6000 ADF personnel and reserves. She has worked in combat support related roles for most of her career and has extensive experience which made her the obvious choice for this senior role.

This week is Queensland Women’s Week and March 8 was International Women’s Day.

These initiatives focus on the achievements of women. They also call for gender parity and commemorate the inspiring role of women everywhere.

“I gave a speech at the Ipswich District Police breakfast for International Women’s Day and it was so inspirational to see some of the amazing women there doing amazing things. I felt really humbled giving that speech to these esteemed individuals who have achieved great things in the police service,” Air Commodore Tyler said.

Air Commodore Tyler has a strong network with her peers.

“Defence has realised the value in supporting networking opportunities for women. Our Women’s Integrated Networking Groups (WINGs) program is offered on each of our bases to provide that opportunity for women, who are busy in their roles and often limited in their opportunities to make time to meet with each other,” Air Commodore Tyler said.

All job roles in the Air Force are open to women with equal pay to men.  Women represent more than 20% of Air Force personnel. Air Force has recognised the value in getting the best person for the job by ensuring the entire talent pool is considered.

Air Commodore Tyler said she has taken inspiration from other senior females during her career. “I have observed how they have operated in some very challenging roles, and this has driven me to aim higher”  

Air Commodore Tyler hopes to inspire other women in the Defence Force by setting a good example.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my two previous command roles but this is the job I’ve always wanted,” Air Commodore Tyler said.

“My hope is that it can inspire women in the Air Force to achieve. I want to set the example thatthey can look up to and say ‘I can do that’.”

Air Commodore Tyler also said she hoped to continue to support Air Force women through ensuring women had avenues for guidance and mentorship.

“That is not unique to Defence. What we are trying to do is promote inclusiveness, a safe working environment and provide avenues for women that are non-traditional female roles.”

Initiatives to encourage women in Air Force jobs

Project WINTER (Women In Non-Traditional Roles) is specifically aimed at increasing the participation and support of women in Air Force jobs where they represent less than 7% of that workforce.

Graduate Pilot Scheme was introduced to attract women to become Air Force pilots. The scheme is currently available to women studying a Bachelor of Aviation (BAv). Visit Defence Jobs to learn more.

Air Force Sponsored Flying Scholarships are awarded to two young women under the age of 24 each year. The two Air Force sponsored scholarships are designed to assist young women with the costs of pursuing a career in aviation. To find out how to apply, visit the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.

Accreditation as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace by the Australian Breastfeeding Association makes the Air Force the first military organisation in the world to achieve such accreditation, and demonstrates our commitment to and support for women returning to work following maternity leave.

Ipswich First

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