13 Feb 2014

Women 'going backward' in military

6:34 pm on 13 February 2014

The Labour Party says a Defence Force review shows women in the military are going backwards, with a fall in representation and ongoing harassment.

A Ministry of Defence review has found reports of bullying and harassment of women has decreased from 19 percent four years ago to 10 percent now.

The review also found the percentage of women in the military has been dropping in the last five years, and is now down to 15 percent.

Labour's defence spokesperson Phil Goff says that represents a huge loss in terms of investment in women's training and what they do for the Defence Force.

Mr Goff said the harrassment figures are worrying, with the reported rate of bullying twice that of men and in initial training reported harassment of women is three times the level of men.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said 10 percent of women reporting harassment is too high and more needs to be done to stop it, as any kind of harrassment is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.

Dr Coleman said while female representation in the Defence Force is higher than in Australia, the United States and Britain, he wants to seem more women recruited and advancing their military careers.