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Nurse wins discrimination battle

Nurse wins discrimination battle

The Royal Air Force’s most senior nurse is hoping that women will achieve more top positions in the armed forces after winning a landmark sexual discrimination case against the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Group Captain Wendy Williams, 54, claimed the MoD was in breach of the Equalities Act 2010 as it had discriminated against her because of her gender when appointing a male doctor ahead of her in a senior position she was fully qualified for and for which she was highly recommended. The tribunal heard that women filled just six of 470 of the highest-ranking positions in the RAF. Group Capt Williams is a registered nurse and midwife who has served in the RAF since 1984. She was awarded damages and said she hoped the case would see more women being recognised for their professional attitudes, their commitment to their roles and their ability to lead others. She called on the MoD to “shatter glass ceilings” by reviewing their promotion processes and making sure decisions are based on excellence and people’s ability to do the job rather than their gender.

Group Capt Williams applied to be the RAF’s candidate to fill the tri-service role of commodore of the Defence Medical Group. She had been tipped for promotion to a senior non-nursing position because of her excellent service, but the role was given to Group Capt John Gaffney, who had three-and-a-half years’ less service at that rank.

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