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The Australian Government Department of Defence
Defending Australia and its National Interests

Fairness and Resolution

Roles of Women in the ADF


Q: How many women currently participate in the Australian Defence Force?

A: As at 1 May 2012, 7,903 women make up 13.9 per cent of the permanent full-time ADF:

Q: How many women are in senior positions?

As at 1 May 2012, women held 7.9 per cent of the Colonel equivalent and above ranks in the ADF.

Q: Can women serve in direct combat positions?

A: The Australian Government, with the full support of the Chief of Defence Force and the Service Chiefs, has formally agreed to the removal of gender restrictions from Australian Defence Force combat roles and endorsed a five year implementation plan to facilitate this decision.

Women in the ADF will soon be able to work in any position in which they have the ability to meet the demands of the role.  This includes the previously restricted roles of Clearance Divers and Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officers in the Navy; Airfield Defence Guards and Ground Defence Officers in the Air Force; and Infantry and Armoured Corps and some Artillery roles in the Army.

Facilitating this change will take time.  Defence has developed a comprehensive implementation plan for the integration of women into combat roles that features a phased approach toward full implementation within five years.  The initial phases will include the option for currently serving women who wish to undertake one of these roles, to transfer should they meet all the requirements.  Direct entry recruitment will occur later in the plan.

Q: How many ADF jobs can women participate in?

A: All employment categories will be opened up to women within the next five years (Sept 2011 – Sept 2016).  This will ensure that career choices will only be restricted by an individual’s ability to meet all the demands of the role, not on the basis of their gender.


Q: Can women be deployed to international operations?

A: As at 1June 2012 there are 307 women serving on current overseas ADF operations representing 9 per cent of the total deployed force.

Women in ADF Jobs:

Click here for Career opportunities for Women in the Australian Defence Force (ADF)

Got a question about being a woman in the Australian Defence Force? Check out some FAQs



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