The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in the number of women joining the IAF Technical and Maintenance Units, totaling nearly 25% of the soldiers in those units, up from 14% a few years ago
For many years, the positions in the Technical and Maintenance Units in the IAF were considered “manly” jobs, a feeling that was even formalized in the IAF: “The amount of women in critical maintenance jobs is not to pass 10%” stated the official IAF policy of manpower in 1981. In the years that followed, the IAF realized the error of its ways and performed an abrupt about-face. By 2003, women in the Technical and Maintenance Units made up 20%, and this year have climbed to 25%, with the IAF hoping to see that number grow even more.
In 2006, female soldiers in their mandatory service made up approximately 14% of the Maintenance Units, next to 23% today. The “level A” technical staff (which deals with basic level maintenance and flight prep), which was only 20% female a few tears ago, is now up to 28%. The amount of women serving in the Electronic Repair Unit has nearly doubled in the same period, totaling 19% today as opposed to 10% in the past. The significant rise in women joining the ranks of these units can be attributed to several changes that have been made in the last number of years, chief among them has been the integration of lighter tools, the integration of women into more advanced technical and technological training courses, and the efforts of commanders to encourage women to join these units.
In The IAF Pre-Draft Technical Schools (in which many soon to be technicians in the IAF study before being drafted), the amount of women has reached 25%, up from 18% in 2005. The increasing number of women serving is not only among those in their mandatory service; 15% of NCO’s in these squads today are women, an increase from 10% that served in 2010. The number of commissioned officers in the units has increased as well, rising from 10% to 11.5% in the same time period. “The drive that women have to stay in the IAF is the same as it is among men”, said Colonel Avi Rajuan, the Head of Programing, Quality Management and Equipment in the Materiel Directorate. “We will continue to invest in advancing, both to allow women to fulfill their potential in the IAF, as well as to serve the needs of the Maintenance and Technical Units of the IAF”.