BALTIMORE, Md. -- Lt. Col. Nadine Nally, the commander for the 781st Military Intelligence Battalion (Cyber), was a panel member discussing challenges for women with careers in the Army and in corporate America at the Earl G. Graves School of Business at Morgan State University on March 8.
The Morgan State University Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), the Bear Battalion, hosted the women's forum and the theme of this year's event was: "Boots versus Heels...Is there a difference in expectations for women in Army versus women in corporate America?"
According to event organizers, many female cadets believe there are challenges and sacrifices associated with a career in the Army that do not exist in other work environments, specifically, corporate America. The purpose of this year's forum was to discuss an array of challenges that affect women in both career paths; analyzing commonalities and differences.
"Cadets getting ready to be commissioned at this time should be excited about the opportunities that will be afforded to them. The military is a hugely diverse organization made up of all volunteers who have chosen to serve their country for a variety of reasons -- each one personal to them," said Nally. "Whether it's faith, country, honor -- my reason was to follow in my father's footsteps and serve my country. Additionally, it was a ways and means to get a college education through the college ROTC route -- I am proud to be an veteran."
The Bear Battalion conducts an annual women's forum in order to address challenges for women in the Army. Most of the Nation's ROTC programs have a 10 to 20 percent population of female cadets, whereas the Bear Battalion is traditionally comprised of 50 to 60 percent female cadets.
According to the Bear Battalion, "there is a need to ensure unique challenges that affect women, especially ethnic minority women, are addressed. This is utilized as a professional development, but also to boost morale in order to retain quality cadets."
"Speaking at these types of events are incredibly impactful as it allows for intimate discussions to express what the expectations are for being a minority female in the Army," said Nally. "This particular engagement also gave me the opportunity to demystify the misconception that you sacrifice your femininity by joining the Army. The Army has made huge leaps to change the policy to support minority women's desire to maintain their femininity/identity -- specifically the policy on grooming and appearance (AR 670-1) which now allows women to wear braids, dreadlocks, and twist. It also allows women to wear their hair out (specifically below their collar) in their physical fitness uniforms. All added bonuses."
Unlike previous years, this year's event included a mix of cadets and non-cadets. The Bear Battalion partnered with various student organizations to ensure diversity amongst crowd. The panel consisted of both women in the Army and corporate America.