The British Army is up to its old tricks again. This time using progressive language to indoctrinate girls aged as young as 14.
On 16 February, the first of a series of ‘Virtual Female Leadership Events‘ was aimed at 14-16 year old girls. The next event, on 18 February, will feature business leaders from the North East of England. The area is a traditional recruiting ground for poor and working class kids and home of the military formation running: 4th Infantry Division, the so-called Black Rats.
A third zoom event for 16-24 year olds will be held on 23 February.
The program is being sold as “three INSPIRATIONAL, EMPOWERING, FEMALE discussion events”.
We are holding a number of virtual female leadership events across February. Check out the details below for more information. pic.twitter.com/jBcaqmKv7d
— 4th Infantry Brigade 🇬🇧 (@The_Black_Rats) February 1, 2021
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
The army appears to have taken advantage of the fact that most young people are not in school by organising the Zoom events in the middle of the day. After today’s event for 14-16-year-olds, there will be other Zoom events aimed at women in the their late teens and early twenties.
PPU pointed out that recruiting does not simply mean getting people to join. It also means normalizing a military mindset:
The Peace Pledge Union said that military events of this sort may persuade small numbers of people to join the armed forces, but that they could recruit a much higher number to a militarist mindset. The UK is the only country in Europe to recruit people as young as 16 into the armed forces.
Little is made in the marketing campaign of the specific issues for women and girls which can arise from military service.
A number of PPU members raised their concerns in the press release, including a 17-year-old named Farah:
Research found that one in seven women in the British armed forces had experienced a ‘particularly upsetting’ experience of sexual bullying. In 2016, a female army officer was recorded telling women joining up that they ‘should all be aspiring to meet the male standard’. This toxic and male-dominated environment will never be somewhere I turn to feel empowered as a young woman.
Another PPU member who has a 15-year-old daughter said:
If the army were to start grooming my teenage daughter during a pandemic with the false idea that she can be treated as an equal in a highly sexist institution, I would be extremely worried. Young people are being bombarded with the narrative that they will struggle to find work in the coming years. We need to focus on their confidence, let them know that they can still achieve their dreams despite the pandemic. Luring them into signing their lives away under false pretences is vile.
The armed forces monitor ForcesWatch points out that the military’s own sexual harassment report for 2018:
admits that harassment in the military is still being underreported. Less than half (46%) of service personnel who had an upsetting experience told someone at work about it. Unfortunately, three-quarters (75%) of people who made a formal complaint said they suffered negative consequences as a result.
Nine in 10 service personnel said they had thought of leaving the Army, had lost respect for the people involved or felt humiliated due to the experience. As the report attested, service personnel want more education on unacceptable behaviour to help reduce and prevent the rate of sexual harassment in the military.
Featured image via Channel 4/British Army Girls
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?