Sisters in Arms: Breaking down barriers and rising to the challenge
September 3, 2013
DOHA, Qatar - The U.S. Army is a man's world. Is it really? Actually, yes it is. Only 15.6 percent of its 1.1 million soldiers are female. However, the world is changing ... the U.S. Army world, that is.
Currently, women serve in 95 percent of all army occupations and make up about 15.6 percent of the active army. Continuing to have crucial roles in current operations, and no longer excluded from combat, female roles continue to evolve.
As women break down the barriers and navigate through their careers in the U.S. Army, a new phenomenon has ignited.
They call it "Sisters in Arms."
Developed as a forum for female soldiers to help enhance avenues of mentorship and empowerment in order to reach their full potential; the program has gone viral and spread throughout the Army worldwide.
"It is my goal that the monthly program on Camp As Sayliyah will break down the walls that divide so many female soldiers and help them find their individual voice," said Maj. Veleka Henderson, the senior intelligence officer for Area Support Group-Qatar and spearhead of the program in southwest Asia.
Discussing topics such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination, Camp As Sayliyah launched their first "Sisters in Arms" program Aug. 28.
Inviting all military females within southwest Asia region to a luncheon, the objective was to build bonds, instill unit cohesion and build bridges between the senior and junior females.
"I support this program fully and believe it will strengthen bonds that will make it easier for females to relate on similar issues," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earla L. Reddock, Area Support Group-Qatar, command sergeant major. "This program is designed to educate, train, mentor and empower service women to become future leaders."
"This month's theme was 'Who am I,'" said Henderson. "It was an introduction to the program and a chance to encourage the sharing of experiences. I am very excited as I think it is not only a great opportunity to mentor and teach, but an opportunity to learn from other female soldiers serving as well. While some women have risen through the ranks, others have not, and I believe they will benefit from the mentorship of other successful female leaders. "
The army.mil website says it perfectly about women in the army, "as women expand into different roles in the U.S. Army, it is clear that the heart of a warrior is not limited to one gender. They continue to break down the barriers and rise to the challenges set before them.'"
For more information about the Sisters in Arms program in Southwest Asia, contact Maj. Veleka Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.