Women will unite in the Royal Navy

Detail from an exact replica of Lord Nelson's diamond Chelengk jewels. Picture:Andrew Matthews/Press Association

Replica of Nelson’s stolen jewel on display

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WOMEN in the Royal Navy are being encouraged to stay onboard as female recruitment of women has slumped.

Serving officers launched the Naval Servicewomen’s Network yesterday to mark International Women’s Day.

The recruitment of women has dropped from 21 per cent of intake in 1987 to just 10 per cent.

Those behind it hope to strengthen women’s solidarity and improve the number who stay in the navy.

Women have served at sea since 1991 and were incorporated into the Royal Navy with the 1993 disbandment of the Women’s Royal Naval Service.

Later this year women will be able to serve aboard submarines, leaving the role as a Royal Marines commando the only job they cannot take up.

Head of the network, Commander Ellie Ablett, said: ‘Despite varied and exciting opportunities open to women, recruitment has reduced.

‘Research also shows us that women do not tend to stay in the navy for as long as men.

‘Women continue to be significantly underrepresented at senior levels.

‘This situation will only change if we improve retention and recruitment.

‘The Naval Servicewomen’s Network aims to provide access to credible, positive role models, male and female, to share their experiences and inspire and empower women in their career development.’