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Armed Forces: Ethnic Groups

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) members of ethnic minorities and (b) women were serving in the armed forces in each of the last 10 years. (171853)

The information requested is available in Table 3 of the Tri-Service Publication 4—UK Armed Forces Quarterly Manpower Report. The most recent publication is available at

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to encourage more (a) women and (b) members of ethnic minorities to join the armed forces. (171854)

The armed forces continue to undertake numerous and varied initiatives, both at national and local level, aimed at encouraging more women and members of the ethnic minority communities to consider a service career.

The recruiting organisations include female personnel to assist a fair gender representation in recruiting activities. Female service personnel are also used appropriately in advertising, to help illustrate life in the armed forces. Furthermore all three services have Presentation Teams to raise awareness of the armed forces, and they include visits to girls' schools.

All three services have Specialist Diversity Teams which are heavily engaged in raising awareness and the profile of the armed forces and promoting service careers among the UK's ethnic minority and faith communities. The wide programme of events include: setting up and maintaining community partnerships across the UK; school, college and community visits; major ethnically centred events, including sports with particular ethnic minority interest; gatekeepers (e.g. teachers, community leaders, parents, etc.) visits; and extended campaigns in focused areas of high ethnic minority population.