International Women's Day 2021!

A Tale of Two Sisters and Their Cadet Journey!

International Women's Day 2021!

8 March 2021

  • Merseyside ACF

For International Women's Day 2021 we thought we would share a #teamMACF tale of two sisters, who not only were Cadets at Merseyside ACF, but are now also Adult Instructors!

We asked Captain Jennifer Richardson ACF, who is Officer Commanding of 4 Company and Staff Sergeant Instructor Erin Richardson, 4 Company Public Relations Officer, some questions about their Cadet Journeys and this is what they told us.....

When did you join Cadets and how long have you been in the ACF now?

Capt. Richardson - " I joined cadets in 1997 in a now disbanded detachment called CRLC. I was a cadet until the age of 18 when I transitioned directly into a CFAV role. I’ve volunteered now for 19 years."

SSI Richardson - "I joined cadets in 1998 and went to a detachment in Everton area which was called CRLC. I left the detachment May 2002 when I turned 18. I then went onto complete my adult instructors course in October 2002 and have been an instructor for 18 years."

What was your favourite subject as a Cadet vs as an Adult Instructor?

Capt. Richardson - "I was really keen on all things fieldcraft as a cadet particularly anything that meant sleeping outside! My main focus as a CFAV though has been first aid. It’s such a vital skill to pass on to our cadets."

SSI Richardson - "I really enjoyed Navigation (back then it was known as Map and Compass), but as I progressed into an adult instructor I really enjoy teaching Skill at Arms."

Have you ever had a sense of competition between each other during your Cadet journey/years?

Capt. Richardson - "There really hasn’t. We have both had very different ACF careers so far due to our own work, family and life balance. I’m incredibly proud of everything Erin has achieved and continues to achieve as a CFAV and she has always supported and cheered me on in every appointment I’ve held."

SSI Richardson - "Honestly, I would say no. Jen was always a star level and a year ahead of becoming an instructor than me and it has paved the way for us both to have our own ACF journey, friends and interests. Throughout our ACF careers I feel we have both completely gone down different paths which I feel has helped us enjoy our journeys that bit more together. It has always helped us come back to one another and support each other that bit more."

When you were Cadets did you feel you had the same opportunities a male Cadets?

Capt. Richardson - "There were times as a Cadet that I did feel overlooked simply for being female. Often it was just accepted that the male Cadet in the room would be given the opportunity on offer. When I was a Cadet there were at least three detachments that were still classed as male only units and simply didn’t accept females who enquired to join."

SSI Richardson - "Within the detachment I was in, I feel definitely not. It was always a lot harder to receive rank, somehow the male Cadets always came first when choosing cadet of the month. Also taking nominal roles / drill, was again always handed to the male cadets. This is something I’m very conscious of within my own detachment to ensure that just because you don’t have the loudest voice doesn't mean that you won't have the same opportunities and level of respect that is given to every Cadet, regardless of what sex you are."


"Throughout our ACF careers, I feel we have both completely gone down different paths which I feel has helped us enjoy our journeys that bit more together. It has always helped us come back to one another and support each other that bit more."

SSI Erin Richardson

From that did you feel the need to fly the flag for female Cadets?

Capt. Richardson - "For me its never been about doing better than my male counterparts but about being respected as their equal. Attitudes have come a long way since my cadet days and thankfully the women in our organisation are achieving more and taking on appointments never previously filled by a female. I hope by seeing female CFAVs' in senior appointments this inspires our female Cadets to demand their own seat at the table now and in the future."

SSI Richardson - "I wouldn’t say 'outdo' the boys, but I would definitely say since becoming an instructor I have tried to set an example for all younger female cadets including junior female instructors. I feel it’s really important to use your voice and speak up, which hopefully encourages the female cadets to voice their opinions. I also advise them to look at all the opportunities available to them in Cadets."

What does the year's #IWD2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge mean to you?

Capt. Richardson - "Both myself and Erin are the women we are today because of our experiences in the ACF. As sisters we have been lucky enough to grow up together in an organisation that has provided us with role models, male and female who have inspired us to challenge the stereotypes of gender and taught us a confidence that we have both carried into our own professions and personal life. #choosetochallenge for me means to keep breaking down those barriers to equality, keep challenging outdated opinions and keep guiding all our cadets regardless of gender to be the very best version of themselves."

SSI Richardson - "I feel really honoured that myself and Jen have been chosen for this year’s MACF IWD story . I don’t think either of us would be the women we are today if it wasn’t for the ACF. We have learnt so much about our own characters, achieved, gained and pushed so many boundaries that I would never have done if I wasn’t a part of this amazing organisation. I’m so grateful for the ACF as it gave me the confidence to speak up, the drive to do more and also to help all cadets achieve all the things they never thought they could."

Merseyside ACF, who were the first County to introduce female Instructors just over forty years ago, now has 38 female instructors with a third of our Cadets being female!

Happy International Women's Day 2021....

Thank you to Captain Jennifer Richardson and SSI Erin Richardson for sharing their Cadet experiences with us.

#VirtualACF #CadetForceResilience #armycadetsuk #toinspiretoachieve #macfofficial