Australian air force personnel will now be known as aviators rather than airmen, the force said on Thursday, in an apparent acknowledgement of the increasing diversity of its members.
“We are all aviators. In everything that we do, we are aviators first and foremost,” Australia’s Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) statement did not explicitly credit the change in language to the increasing number of women in its ranks. Rather it said the service wanted to instill a stronger sense of identity.
Women make up more than 20 percent of the nearly 15,000 personnel in the RAAF, according to a 2019 report. RAAF aims to have 25 percent of females as its member by 2023.