The inclusion of women like me in series four of Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins has smashed the age-old stereotype that women are the weaker sex.
When I initially applied, I didn’t focus on the fact I would be competing against men. My concerns were predominantly whether I would be fit enough to compete against 19 year olds, and if I would have the mental resilience to make it.
I am stubborn, determined and focused, so I knew I would never voluntarily withdraw from the process, and I never saw it as competition with anyone but myself.
I wanted this to be my own personal challenge to establish how hard I could push myself but the 11 days we spent in Chile were the toughest I have ever experienced.
The Directing Staff (DS) aim to break you down both physically and mentally. They are also very insightful and identified early that I was still in ‘work mode’ at the start of the course.
I am a stronger person and I have learnt a lot from the positive attributes of the other recruits.
I was too focused on the tasks in hand to create rapport with the other recruits and develop my interpersonal skills, which especially came across in team building and team-based tasks.
We were a group of 25 from all walks of life that I would not necessarily have met in any other situation, but we were all like-minded, determined, focused and resilient individuals.
As time went on, the shared experience created a unique friendship and bond. We are really the only ones who know exactly what we went through and how tough it was.
I have had the privilege of making life-long friends through the process and for that am I eternally grateful.
I managed to utilise the feedback from the DS in a positive fashion and progress from it. My aim now is to further develop this in my ‘normal’ day to day life.
In my profession – trauma orthopaedics – we are not yet at a 50:50 split of men and women. Female orthopaedic surgeons are becoming less of the exception but that doesn’t always make it easy as a female to fit into what are already established teams of men.
Prejudices have to be won over both with some more senior male colleagues and some more traditional minded patients. As time progresses, I hope equality will continue to develop in all fields.
I don’t think I have necessarily changed significantly from the experience. I am a stronger person and I have learnt a lot from the positive attributes of the other recruits.
I have been absolutely amazed and delighted by the level of support by all my friends, family, colleagues and supporters up and down the country and worldwide.
I am forever appreciative of the support and encouragement from Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and all the directing staff – Jason Fox, Ollie Ollerton and Mark Billingham. You are all my heroes and I owe you a debt of gratitude that will struggle to be repaid.
Not all women have the mental and physical resilience to progress in elite Special Forces, nor do all men, but I cannot reiterate enough the absolute privilege it was to be involved in the series and I hope I did you proud as the first female to pass.
I am immensely proud of myself and what I have achieved. I hope that it will encourage others, both male and female, to push themselves outside of their comfort zones.
Now it’s onwards and upwards to new adventures and challenges.
by – metro.co.uk