COCOLÍ, Panama - Members of the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron recently facilitated a U.S. Embassy hosted Women's Peace and Security event in Panama.
Women, Peace and Security is an initiative supported by the U.S., Panama and several other countries around the world.
In 2017, the Women, Peace and Security Act was signed into law in the U.S. and two years later, a whole-of-government strategy was released. The Department of Defense, as a major participant in the strategy, focuses on three areas:
1) Maintaining a diverse organization that allows women’s meaningful participation across the development, management and employment of the joint force.
2) Encouraging partner nations to promote women in the meaningful participation and service at all ranks and in all occupations in defense and security sectors.
3) Encouraging partner nation defense and security sectors ensure women and girls are safe and secure and their human rights are protected, especially during conflict and crisis.
According to the United States Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security, initiating dialog is a key component in identifying the challenges and successes women experience in the service. Members of the Servicio Nacional Aeronaval de Panamá (SENAN), Servicio Nacional de Fronteras (SENAFRONT), Panamanian National Police, and Migración Panama were invited to attend and share their perspective on women's participation across the services.
Introducing the Women's Peace and Security program goals is a part of a policy framework designed to integrate and support women's perspectives, develop women in credible and significant roles, and empower them to continue to contribute to peace and security.
Throughout the hour-long event, participants shared their contributions to the team effort in border security, counter-narcotics and humanitarian operations. Participants also shared stories of being mothers and how their work doesn't end when they take off their uniforms.
The Panama Minister of Public Security, Secretary General Jonathan Riggs, provided opening and closing remarks praising the valuable contributions of women in Panama’s public security forces and emphasizing the need for continued progress.
The United States Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security also seeks to increase women's leadership, showcasing the women currently in leadership positions in all levels of organizations.
"Many women are rising to leadership positions and accomplishing great things, like our first female Air Group commander, who was in this audience," a SENAN major noted during the event. "We must increase the leadership opportunities for women."
The program highlights the vast body of evidence demonstrating women’s meaningful contributions, which are critical to conflict prevention and resolution, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, disaster preparedness and recovery, and stability worldwide.
“Women, Peace and Security is important because it offers opportunities for women to contribute in the decision making processes by sharing their perspectives at levels they might not have been previously included in,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Chantel Armstrong, 571st MSAS air advisor and WPS lead planner for the squadron. “WPS provides a framework that promotes inclusion, conflict prevention and prosperity for women.”