The MP for Wrexham has called for an urgent review of mandatory training in the military.
It comes after a female veteran told ITV News about the misogyny, bullying and sexual assault she claimed she faced while serving in the Army.
Wrexham MP, Sarah Atherton said "the whole culture needs to change" and "sterile training has backfired."
The Conservative MP was speaking after a female veteran told ITV News the military is “not a safe environment for women” and said due to the experiences she encountered, she would encourage others not to join.
Emma [not her real name], from West Wales, had a 17-year career in the Army and fought on operational and humanitarian tours in places like Afghanistan and Kenya.
She claims throughout her career, she was subjected to bullying, harrassment, sexual discrimination and even sexual assault.
She said: “I've been screamed at and even spat at, where male soldiers would deem it acceptable to do that to a woman. It never seemed to happen to any male peers."
Sarah Atherton is the only female MP to have served in the army and led an inquiry into the female experience in the military which was published in 2021.
The report found that the Ministry of Defence and Military services were failing to protect female personnel. 64 % of female veterans reported experiencing bullying, harassment, discrimination and sexual behaviours during their careers.
The inquiry provided several recommendations to improve the support for female servicewomen but Ms Atherton says two years have passed by and changes still haven't filtered through.
She said: "It's been two years now and some of the evidence that's started to come back to me is suggesting that really that culture hasn't changed."
Ms Atherton has just launched an All Party Parliamentary Group looking at Women in Defence to keep the issue in the spotlight. She said she aims to carry out another review before the end of the year.
She said: "The whole culture needs to change that isn't going to happen overnight, but we've got good female role models in place now, I think the training needs to be looked at.
"It's making sure that actually the outcomes change on the back of that and that's not what I sense the MOD has done yet."
When asked if she thought the military was a safe place as a woman at the moment, Ms Atherton said she did, but highlighted that there are large elements in the institution that need to be addressed.
In response to the situation, the ministry of Defence said they have a zero tolerance approach to such behaviours and they are making changes to ensure all serious complaints are fully investigated.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said, “We are committed to preventing unacceptable behaviours from occurring and we have zero-tolerance for such behaviour.
“We are making the changes required to create an inclusive environment for all, and have introduced zero-tolerance policies, created the Defence Serious Crime Unit – ensuring all serious sexual complaints are fully investigated outside the chain of command – and have continued to improve reporting mechanisms.”
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