Brunssum, the Netherlands – Allied Headquarters Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS) hosted a series of events today to highlight the 2019 International Women's Day. JFCBS is very much focused on gender equality and equal rights for women, but also on diversity and the empowerment of women, fully supporting NATO's overall comprehensive security approach which includes all perspectives and points of view. The series of events held at the HQs today stressed the role and importance of women to NATO and, in particular, to JFCBS.
Central to activities conducted to mark the 70th Anniversary of International Women's Day was an event held at the HQs where three female speakers shared their insight and experience with the audience. After opening remarks by the Deputy Commander, Lieutenant General Stuart Skeates, the first speaker, Colonel Juanita Chang (Chief Public Affairs Officer from Supreme Allied Powers Headquarters Europe (SHAPE)), stressed that she is "proud to be serving in an Alliance whose fundamental purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members, regardless of gender, race, or religion, by both political and military means."
The next speaker, Lieutenant Commander Kim Poirrier, underlined that "privilege is invisible to those who have it, simply because they do not have to think about their gender or culture and its impact on every aspect of their lives." In her speech she also talked about her life, her career in the Canadian Navy and the challenges she faced as a woman.
Finally, the keynote speaker, Mrs Karen Bongard, who has spent many years on foreign assignments as a diplomat, underlined that "International Women's Day is an important occasion to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women, and to call for their equal participation in society - and just as importantly, to honour men who support women along the way. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also in keeping with the commitments NATO has made."
For their courage and commitment, Mrs Bongard, Colonel Chang and Lieutenant Commander Poirrier were honoured by the head of the JFCBS Civil/Military Interaction & Partnership Division, Brigadier General Pavel Adam, with a gift from JFCBS.
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Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office