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Women In Service


Despite being integrated into the military, there were still restrictions on female service. The ADF was granted an exemption from the Sexual Discrimination Act when it was introduced in 1984 so that it could maintain gender-based restrictions against women serving in combat or combat-related positions, which limited women to 40 percent of positions in the ADF.

 army women exercising in front of army equipment



Women have formed part of ADF deployments around the world since the early 1990's.

  • Female sailors were sent into a combat zone for the first time on board HMAS Westralia in 199.
  • Female medical personnel were deployed to Iraq, Western Sahara and Rwanda during the early 1990's.
  • 440 of the 5,500 Australians deployed to East Timor in November 1999 were women.


Air Commodore Julie Hammer





Women also began to be promoted to command units in the late 1990s, and Air Commodore Julie Hammer (pictured left) became the first woman to reach one-star rank in 2000.


In 2015, 335 women were participating in overseas operations in frontline support positions, including in Afghanistan.