From Office Clerks to Fighters From Office Clerks to Fighters The IAF makes profound efforts to give women equal opportunity to reach significant roles in the force, and to integrate them in the heart of operational matters. “In the last years we’ve cut the number of clerks in half”

Lya Shanel

The IDF has gone a long way in the last several decades with regards to integrating women in the military. Up until the 80’s, the girls of the force served as assistants and in managerial roles, and a significant number of them served as clerks. Today, there are almost no IAF roles that are closed to them. “In the past four years we’ve minimized the number of clerks from 1200 to 600 only in the entire force”, Lieutenant Colonel Sharon Harmon, Head of the Planning Branch in Human Resources, says proudly.

Lieutenant Colonel Harmon, who will be promoted in the coming year to the rank of Colonel, is herself a shining example of the important role that women have been taking in the force in the past few years. “In keeping with the increase in the number of draftees to the Aerial Defense Formation, we’ve also increased the number of fighter women-from 40 to 70 in 2011, after many years in which the number had stayed constant”, adds Lieutenant Colonel Harmon.

More Fighters, More Technicians

Female Aerial Defense fighters, who go through the same course as the men, received positive news in the past months when for the first time a woman was nominated to be a Iron Dome Battery Commander, but they’re not alone-the women of the technical formation were given a positive example from the first ammunition officer. “In the technical formation we’re trying to increase the number of women, especially on the front ranks. Our goal is to reach a 35% female ratio amongst 1st rank technicians, and these days we’re already close to 30%”, says Lieutenant Colonel Harmon.

Even clerks, who do not take part in operational roles, will experience a significant improvement in their service experience in the next few years. “We’re also planning alterations to the clerks’ jobs, in order to make them more professional. Every office clerk will be chosen ahead of time and will receive unique training that is tailored to her role”.