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Defence marks International Womens’ Day

Sarah van Bronswijk believes she has one of the most interesting jobs in Defence – the Indo-Pacific Enhanced Engagement Branch.

It’s a fast rise for Sarah after joining Defence’s graduate program in 2016 following some postgraduate study in public policy and international affairs at the Australian National University.

She’s now an Assistant Director in the International Policy Division, having recently joined the Branch, an exciting branch established to implement Defence’s initiatives in the region.

“The APS recognises that no one career path is the ‘right’ path,” Sarah says.

“It enables women to carve the career they want for themselves and pursue opportunities across the public service.”

She says this year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘More Powerful Together’ recognises the strength that comes when women and men work together to support and build a more equal world.

“Defence supports women by fostering a positive environment that encourages women to seek out challenges and to go for the opportunities they want,” she says.

“The best support I’ve seen is the enormous respect for great work and great leadership that is shown to both women and men in Defence.

“I am lucky to have been supported by some outstanding bosses in Defence. A former First Assistant Secretary stands out as someone who actively took an interest in developing me for future challenges I might face, sharing lessons he learned at early stages in his own career. I value that people in Defence have believed in me enough to want to support me.”

Outside of work, Sarah’s active in the national security community through the Institute for Regional Security’s Future Strategic Leaders Program

Sarah speaks French, German, basic Spanish, she has lived in Switzerland and has spent time studying in France and Germany.

On International Women’s Day, Defence recognises the achievements of women in Defence and their direct contribution to Defence capability.

In the APS, more than 43 per cent of our Defence workforce are women, including 37 per cent of our Senior Executive Service. Australian servicewomen now comprise 18.2 per cent of the permanent ADF, as compared to 15.5 per cent three years ago.

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