~~%" VY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 1990 Options
"SEXUAL equality is an impossible dream" is one of the sample essay titles suggested in the Admiralty Interview Board's introductory video. Some of the candidates for officer selection might
- but for the agree with it past few months the AIB
done its utmost prove them wrong. has
Following fast on the announcement that the WRNS would soon be serving at sea came an unequivocal direc"TT-------
tive from their Director - in future, any girl applying for a commission would be treated exactly the same as the men. There would be no exceptions. The ordeal that leads to Dartmouth for about half of those who pass the required three nights under the AIB's roof at Gosport is primarily a test of intelligence and leadership potential. But there is also a series of gymnastic hurdles to get across - literally, chasms to span with the aid of a selection of useful, but not exactly ideal, lengths of wood and rope. In the past, the girls' gym tasks were lighter and did not include a water obstacle. No longer - though these are team efforts and what the women may lack in physical strength can be made up by skilful planning. In the case of the water course, however, the age of chivalry is not quite past. New
As the WRNS prepares to go to Board has beentold to treat its same as the me -the road both a
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Anna gets one over the lads
"You go straight on to your interview after this," advises the AIB's First Lieutenant, Lieut.-Cdr. Terry Jones. "Well, it a lad has fallen in he can run a comb through his hair and feel OK - but a girl wouldn't be happy if she felt she was going in looking like a orowned rat. So we would slow the process down to give her time to sort herself out." There have, in tact, been no special difficulties for the dozen or so female candidates who have passed through since the new rules came into force - and the pass rate has remained the same at about 50 per cent. LWren Anna Krystofiak (25) was one of them. "Going through the hoops was no problem at all," she said later. "They're not trying to catch you out, there's nothing dangerous about it. You have to go in with the attitude 'Well, I'll have a go' and if you fall in you fall in. "The girl who was on with me did -.but only in the practice session. "I told the lads in the team not to worry about me, that I could handle quite a lot and not to put me on one side. But since they were all 17 and 18year-aids and I was a bit older, I found they were looking to me for guidance anywayl"
" Top left: the relaxed modem styling of the AIB's home at HMS Sultan helps put candidates at their ease. There is a well-equipped rest room (right) and comfortable study bedrooms for last-minute cramming (below, opposite). " Above: LWren Anna Krystofiak gets to grips with the gym tasks - tougher now than when LWren, now Third Officer Carol Riches took the test (below, left). " Candidates' responses in interview (below) provide the AIB with many of its lighter moments while its walls are hung with a whole gallery of Tugg cartoons (top right).