I propose to take Questions Nos. 788, 794 and 808 together.
The following table shows the strength of the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) as at 28th February 2021, the latest date for which such data is available, broken down by rank, service and gender.
In line with current policies and commitments a number of initiatives have been implemented to increase the level of female participation in the Permanent Defence Force. These include:
- Special consideration is paid to women as a target group for recruitment within the general recruitment framework.
- A Gender Equality and Diversity Officer has been appointed to promote gender equality policies and training within the Defence Forces. The Defence Forces are committed to gender equality and employ a gender perspective in the planning and execution of operations both at home and overseas and in all policies and regulations. Gender Advisors are available to all Brigades and Services and trained Gender Focal Points are deployed with all overseas units and ships in order to promote a gender perspective in operations.
- A Defence Forces Women's Network was established with the aim of increasing the participation of female personnel at all levels of the organisation.
Over the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence, a number of projects will be progressed to ensure the development and promotion of strategies that continue to support increased female participation in the Defence Forces.
The Government remains committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities.
Strength by Rank