Naval Servicewomen's Network

  • Author: Nichola Winstanley
  • Date: Wednesday 16th November 2016
Naval Servicewomen's Network

The Naval Servicewomen's Network (NSN) is a professional network for women and was established in 2013 to promote an inclusive culture, improve retention, encourage and enable individuals to achieve their potential and provide a positive contribution to shape the future personnel policy.
A delegation of five from BRNC attended the annual conference this year held at HMS Collingwood recently where one of the key speakers was Olympian Helen Richardson-Walsh, a member of the gold medal winning womens hockey team in Rio. She gave an honest account of her life experiences and the journey she has made through four Olympic Games to the audience of Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Maritime Reserves and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel.

Lieutenant Commander Clara Hewitt, a BRNC Staff Officer said: "this was my first introduction to the NSN and I really didn't know what to expect. It was definately a positive experience and opened up some useful, thought provoking discussions on areas such as effective team management and self-management. The variety of people attending was inspiring, especially the informal conversations that happened around the conference."

Open to Civil Servants and representatives from the MOD, Army and RAF the conference aimed to continue the NSN's mission to 'Share, Inspire and Empower' delegates, centred on the 2016 theme of Health, Fitness and Wellbing.

Another speaker on the day was the Inspector General at the Headquarters of the Surgeon General, Commodore Inga Kennedy.

Sub Lieutenant Molly Fuller who has been in the RN for a year remarked: "We've had some exposure to the NSN during intial training at BRNC, which I found very interesting so when the chance came to attend the conference I was keen to be included. Commodore Kennedy was particularly inspiriing and very easy to relate to."

Another first time delegate was PO 'Tash' Hamilton, the Assistant Unit Security Officer at BRNC. PO Hamilton has been in the RN for 11 years. She commented: "I enjoyed the panel debate. As a mother of two young children with a service partner I am interested in flexible working. The health and wellbeing focus for the conference was good too and very important for busy working working mums."

Of course the conference is fully inclusive and open to male personnel too. Midshipman David Musto, who is presently undergoing his initial warfare officers traning course at BRNC was among those attending. He said: "I am fully aware that as an Officer my team will include both male and female personnel, so I wanted to get an idea of the female perspective of being in the RN and future plans for greater integration in areas such as the Submarine Service and Royal Marines. I found that most of the issues discussed were applicable to each gender, particularly those based around life-style and families. I estimate about 25% of the audience were male and I would certainly urge others to engage with the network in the future."

The RN was recently named as a leader of workplace gender equalitu, featuring in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2016.

Return to listings