Gender and Leadership: How Should Women Lead in Defence?

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Gender and Leadership: How Should Women Lead in Defence?In a tumultuous security environment, made up of a complex mosaic of actors and threats, diverse prisms must be used through which to assess and thus improve defence leadership. As the number of women in the field of defence rises, and cracks in the ‘brass ceiling’ begin to widen, there is a greater need to understand how female leaders command and inspire in this evolving security landscape.

With defence and security sectors now under significant fiscal restraints, the question of ‘how best to lead’ is more prominent than ever before. Yet in trying to integrate and include a diverse range of perspectives and talents, there is now impetus to ask ‘how should women best lead in defence?’

Hosted by the Royal United Services Institute’s Under 35s Forum, this event will bring together academic, industrial, and military professionals to identify and discuss the impact of gender on leadership within the defence sector. It will examine the current state of women in the defence sector, and, particularly, how their leadership will shape its future.

We are also delighted to announce that Admiral Michelle Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations in the U.S. Navy, will be providing opening remarks for this event and participating in the panel discussion. Admiral Howard has commanded a long list of ships and served in various high-ranking positions in her long and impressive career. On 1 July 2014, she became the first woman to become both four star admiral and Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Other confirmed speakers include:

  • Madeline Moon MP, Member of Parliament for Bridgend
  • Mike Maiden, Chairman, NDI Ltd
  • Dr Victoria Basham, Senior Lecturer, Exeter University
  • Professor John Louth, Director, Defence, Industries and Society, Royal United Services Institute
  • Joanne  Mackowski, Researcher, Defence, Industries and Societies, Royal United Services Institute

There will be a reception 1730 – 1815, followed by the event in RUSI’s Library from 1815-1930.



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