Brunssum, the Netherlands – Thursday 05 March, Allied Headquarters Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS) hosted a series of events to highlight 2020's upcoming International Women's Day.
This year the United Nations choose the theme "I am generation Equality: Realising Women's Rights", which focuses on the importance of creating a gender equal world. JFCBS is very much focused on gender equality and equal rights for women, but also on diversity and the empowerment of women in order to fully support NATO's overall comprehensive security approach which includes all perspectives and points of view. The series of events held at the Headquarters stressed the role and importance of women to NATO and, in particular, to JFCBS.
Before the central activity to mark the upcoming International Women's Day began, the HQ offered a round table discussion to selected personnel before giving the floor to the event's key note speaker, Mrs Clare Hutchinson, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security.
This event was followed by an open event where three speakers shared their insight, thoughts and experience with a broader audience. After some very personal opening remarks by the Commander, General Erhard Bühler, who took the audience with him to a short journey through his experience as a Commanding Officer with women serving in the military. The first speaker, Sergeant First Class Lauren Manley, stressed the importance of each individual in the process of reaching gender equality. "I recognised that change always starts with yourself", she said, urging everybody to be pro-active, to take action, by him- or herself.
Adjacently Major General Antoni Betelli, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Support, delivered his speech – coming from a personal perspective of the history of his own family showing that in the end "respect" for the human being, regardless of gender barriers is what we all should aim for.
Finally, the keynote speaker, Mrs Clare Hutchinson, who has spent many years on foreign assignments working for the United Nations, underlined the importance of NATO's approach of including the gender perspective in all sequences of NATO's planning and conduct of missions and operations, as there is not a single thing she could recall without a gender aspect. Mrs Hutchinson emphasised the importance of integrating across all areas, creating an inclusive working environment while maintaining operational integrity.
To give the audience, the Senior Leadership and the speakers the chance to further discuss the food for thought they had just heard, the event was closed with an informal lunch and lots of bi- and multilateral discussions.