International Women’s Day looks to inspire change
13 March 2014
The United Nations-inspired International Women’s Day was celebrated at Australia’s Camp Baird at the United Arab Emirates’ Al Minhad Air Base on 8 March with a theme of “Inspiring Change”.
International Women’s Day is held annually to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It recognises women’s achievements, regardless of divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.
Operation SLIPPER Commander, Major General Craig Orme was the keynote speaker at the event hosted by the Sisters in Arms program, which included guest speakers from the Royal Air Force, New Zealand Defence Force, Australian Defence Force and US Army.
“Inclusiveness and respect are the two key points to inspiring change” on International Women’s Day,” Major General Orme said.
“This year’s theme of inspiring change is highly relevant for ensuring the development of modern, innovative defence forces.
“International Women’s Day is important as we acknowledge the vital contribution of women in our services and taking the things we have learned to ensure respect in our workforce for all groups.
“Inclusiveness is a vital and important tool to stimulate innovation and build our capability but it is respect, respect for other people, respect for other services and respect for other roles in the force that truly brings change.
“This Sisters in Arms program is at the vanguard of that change as it brings together women from across this multi-national airbase to build a support network and share ideas to build our capability,” Major General Orme said.
Wing Commander Leanne Woon, the New Zealand Defence Force Detachment Commander at AMAB said the Sisters in Arms program provides the opportunity for continuing professional and personal development through support and networking for women on deployed operations.
“The program has grown rapidly since its inception in October 2013 as part of the Coalition Force Women Officers to provide an opportunity to network, learn from each other and develop a support network for one another on deployment,” she said.
“The group has proved beneficial for many as this is the first time they have been on deployed operations, worked in a joint environment and with Coalition Forces.”
Originally a weekly meeting between officers to establish the network, meetings were extended to include women Warrant Officers. The program has developed to include a monthly all ranks forum with a theme assigned for professional development opportunities.
In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March.
Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by member states, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.