I know my place…And it’s as a commander in the Royal Navy

On March 8th celebrations for International Women’s Day were under way and the annual International Women’s Day conference was held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel. The day was originally created in the 1900s by the Suffragettes however continues to celebrate the achievements of women across the globe from history through to present day.

The afternoon consisted of heartening speeches given by inspirational women making a progressive step towards promoting female empowerment. The speakers consisted of striving independent business and charity owners, however also among them was Ellie Ablett- Royal Navy Commander at HMS Raleigh. Ellie’s vivacity for her job was clearly visible in addition to her pride to be part of the Royal Navy.

Growing up in a military family, Ellie signed up in 1993 as a logistics officer. Following a successful Naval career, she achieved the role of Commander in 2016. Apart from this remarkable accomplishment, gaining one of the highest roles in the Navy, Ellie demonstrated her position of power as an uplifting symbol for women. Ellie’s speech received a very warm reception and exhibited an empowered woman with ambition to inspire. With women only accounting for 9.3% of the Naval Service, Ellie’s passionate about encouraging women to push themselves in their careers and is the chair/founding member of the NSN (Naval Service Women’s Network) which facilitates career development and opportunities for women by offering support and mentoring.

When discussing female rights a prominent issue is sexism within the workplace including unequal pay, sexual harassment and a lack of women in high positions of power. This often causes women to feel disrespected and undervalued. In the case of Commander Ablett this statement is paradoxical and regardless of the Navy being a male-dominated profession the perspective Ellie gave was largely positive demonstrating the Navy as female supporters; with there being only a 0.9% pay gap and a general feeling of gender equality.

Overall, the day was truly inspiring, I was honoured to be in a room filled with so many remarkable women that exemplify success.


First published in  Love Saltash – April 2018

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