The celebration began with remarks from SHAPE's Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Enablement Major General Luis Lanchares. A gender panel discussion followed with various community leaders including: French National Military Representative Major General Brice Houdet, US Army 39th Strategic Signal Battalion Command Sergeant Major Caroly Turell, Ms. Ingrid Covington, from the British Psychological Society and Major General Lanchares. The group discussed women's equality and the role gender plays in the military.
"The relevance of women's equality for the Alliance, as part of our core values and tasks, is implicitly stated in the Alliance fundamental purpose, to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members," said Major General Lanchares. "The Alliance is totally committed to implement and support women's equality initiatives, the education and training of our people is paramount. Understanding of what needs to be done, personal commitment, and proactively taking action whenever necessary, as part of our individual responsibilities, will foster and contribute to implement gender equality."
The Alliance is totally committed to implement and support women's equality initiatives
"Gender equality is not a women's issue, it's not about men and women being the same. It doesn't mean that gender differences must be eliminated. It's also not about having equal representation of men and women in each field," said Allied Command Counterintelligence (ACCI) Gender Advisor Enaida Anderson. "Gender equality is about having equal rights and equal opportunities across all sectors of society and when the aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured. Gender equality is seeing males and females as being of equal status and value. It's judging a person based on their merit, and not viewing them as inferior or superior purely based on their gender."
After closing remarks from ACCI Commander Colonel James Dickerman, guests were invited to a brief social for refreshments and further discussion.