Monday 15th October 2018
The women of the Royal Air Force have received the Women of Achievement Award today (12 Oct 18) at the annual Women of the Year Luncheon and Awards in Birmingham.
The award, which recognises outstanding women for their work in their communities, is dedicated to the women of the RAF this year in recognition of their 100 years of service in the RAF’s centenary year.
Flight Sergeant Michelle Crolla, an Aerospace Avionics Engineer, was one of 12 female RAF personnel who accepted the award on behalf of all the women of the RAF on-stage at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.
“It’s an overwhelming situation and a real privilege to accept this award. It’s really nice that people outside of the armed forces recognise and are really proud of what we as women do in the RAF. I think this recognition shows that our county really gets behind us; they support us and they’re proud of us,” said Flight Sergeant Crolla.
Air Vice Marshal Tamara Jennings, one of the highest-ranking women in the RAF, thanked the organisers of the awards which celebrate the achievements of women and raise funds for charities including The Prince’s Trust – Women Supporting Women initiative.
“It is a privilege to accept this award on behalf of all the incredible women who have served and of course those who continue to serve in the RAF. The RAF has always been at the forefront of change – exemplified by being the first of the UK armed forces to open all its roles to women.
“I am proud to be part of a service where people, regardless of their gender, can fulfil their talent and potential and are paid based solely on their skill and expertise,” said Air Vice Marshal Jennings.
As well as the RAF’s centenary, the awards marked 100 years of the Women’s Suffrage Movement with a moving speech from Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, who were both leaders in the British Suffragette movement.
Pauline Edden, Director of the Women of the Year, said:
“Never has it been more timely or important to celebrate women’s achievements. Over the last 12 months we have seen worldwide recognition of the struggle for women’s rights.
“Our role in promoting and celebrating inspirational female role models is therefore more important than ever.”
Last year, the RAF Regiment was opened to women, making the RAF the first of the UK Armed Forces in which every role is open to all, regardless of gender.