By Sgt. Bethany WilliamsJanuary 8, 2019
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Being a woman in the military can be challenging, but the Army provides female Soldiers the opportunity for mentorship and support. The Sisters in Arms program is specifically designed to support women and helps women in the Army with mentorship, career progression, and camaraderie.
Capt. India Simpson, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said the program is open to women of all ranks and provides an open forum where Soldiers can share their own experiences for everyone's benefit.
"Sisters in Arms is a mentorship program that was developed for Soldiers to openly discuss, teach, coach, and learn from one another about the Army," said Simpson. "The program benefits woman in many ways. Having annual meetings along with activities and lessons, helps with bonding, growth, and career progression.
Staff Sgt. Chiquera Hearns, a supply sergeant, with HHB, 10th AAMDC, said the program has helped her and many other Soldiers like her who face unique challenges.
"It is used as a support group for single parents, dual military, widows, same gender marriages, and any other challenges that women in uniform face on a daily basis," Hearns said. "The program is beneficial for women in the military because it brings women of all trades together and helps women with resiliency for situations that other women may have experienced."
SIA provides Soldiers like Hearns an open platform to mentor, teach, learn, and bond. For her, the program is a chance to help all women within the ranks grow and progress in their careers, which contributes to the Army's overall mission.
"The program is for all women in the military, including both enlisted and officers. It was designed to bring women from all backgrounds together to uplift one another and to share their experiences and goals," Hearns said.
Woman in the military face many challenges. The diversity throughout the ranks of the Army makes each woman's challenge and story unique. It is a leader's duty to help each individual overcome these challenges. The junior enlisted Soldiers are the future of the Army and with a program that allows mentorship will help mold a better tomorrow for the organization.
"Junior enlisted Soldiers are able to learn from situations and mistakes that other women may have faced while serving in the military," Hearns said. "They also have the opportunity to get mentored by individuals within the group, which could help with career progression."
The program gives women the opportunity to boost morale and comradery. Women being able to support and learn from other women despite rank is what the program encourages.
Sgt. 1st Class Mary Watson, a career counselor, with HHB, 10th AAMDC said SIA helps build a better team of woman working toward a common goal.
"Boosting camaraderie and esprit de corps between women in the military helps women feel a part of a group and understand that we are all in the same fight," Watson said. "The program fosters an environment for us to learn from each other's experience while grooming Soldiers to remain or become competitive for progression."