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Mar 8 2021

Honouring International Womens Day 2021 at JFC Brunssum

Brunssum, the Netherlands – On Monday 8th March, Allied Headquarters Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFCBS) hosted a virtual conference to highlight the 2021 International Women's Day. JFCBS embraces gender perspectives and focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of women, emphasising the inclusion of women in conflict resolution and peace processes. The event stressed the role and importance of women to NATO and, in particular, to JFCBS. Four female speakers, two from JFCBS and two joining externally online, shared their insight and experience with the audience.

Gender equality is not optional, it is fundamental to the continued success of operations

This year, the United Nations chose the theme 'Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world", 'which focuses on women and girls' efforts in creating an equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.20210308-jb02-011d-038-J92yM1

General Jörg Vollmer, Commander JFCBS, opened the event highlighting: 'Today is a special day. We have come a long way with gender perspectives and today is a day to honour what has been achieved. Today is also important for us to learn what else can be done to make things better. There is always room for improvement.' 

The conference began with an address by Major Justyna Balik of the Polish Army, who is serving at JFCBS. She drew upon her personnel experiences as a female soldier offering the advice to: 'find your own career path and be yourself.'

Colonel Irena Dzisiewska, also serving at JFCBS, is a member of the British Army Corps of Royal Engineers. During her speech she offered an insight into how those in a position of leadership can best draw upon the skills and abilities of the women. She highlighted that treating your personnel as individuals and not specifically as a man or woman, can draw the best out of them. 

Joining virtually from Belgium, Major General (Rtd.) Lutgardis Claes, offered her experience as a female having entered the Belgian Air Force shortly after it opened up to women in 1978. She was able to draw upon her vast experience to offer a unique insight into the specific challenges faced by women who choose to pursue a military career.

The event's keynote speaker was Ms Clare Hutchinson, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for Women, Peace, and Security. Drawing upon the chosen theme, Ms Hutchinson emphasized that: 'gender equality is not optional, it is fundamental to the continued success of operations. Mainstreaming and gender integration is key for the future.' She also highlighted that we should not be lowering standards for women among the armed forces but, rather, bringing women up to meet those standards.

To fully embrace NATO's overall comprehensive security strategy, which incorporates all viewpoints, JFCBS places a strong emphasis on gender equality, equal opportunities for women, diversity, and women's empowerment.

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Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office

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