Reaping the rewards of equal opportunity

8 March 2023

International Women's Day 

This year's theme is Cracking the Code. Here, a technical sailor explains how progress towards gender equality has helped her career.

Able Seaman Swanson was not deterred by the fact that there were more men in her career path than women.

She joined in 2017 after Defence recruiters visited her school, and at one point was the only female electronics technician in her ship’s department, but today there are noticeably more.

“Women are able to access and enjoy the same resources, rewards and opportunities as men in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN),” she said.

“I would love it to balance out and see more females in the category.”

She is a communications instructor for the Technical Training Faculty, part of Navy’s Training Authority – Engineering at HMAS Cerberus.

“I enjoy being an instructor, I find it challenging and rewarding to teach new apprentices what I have learnt and pass on knowledge and skills,” Able Seaman Swanson said.

“I loved being a greenie at sea. We conduct maintenance, diagnose and rectify defects as well as additional duties such as boarding party, flight deck team and SMET.”

With International Women’s Day on March 8, Able Seaman Swanson said she was empowered and proud to be a woman working as a technical sailor.

“International Women’s Day is a day to recognise and reflect on how far we have come in regard to gender equality especially within the RAN,” she said.

“From the 1940s, when women couldn’t even serve at sea to where we are now, being afforded equal opportunities.”

In future, she would like to become a recruit instructor and help the next generation start their careers.

To find out more about a career in Defence, visit



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