KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - March is Women’s History Month and the United States Army this time to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of female Soldiers and civilians across the globe.
Women play a critical part in shaping today and tomorrow’s Army by setting the groundwork for future generations to make an even better Army.
Dr. Jennifer Lares, a professor at Emory College and a Mortuary Affairs Officer for the U.S. Army Regional Mortuary Europe and Africa, sees the impact females are making on her career field.
“I can tell you from observations of our admissions and registrations that we’re seeing three out of four females are mortuary students, and that’s a big trend and change from prior years on the industry as a whole,” said Lares. “I think as a whole, I can say from my observations here as well as within teaching that within, the field that more women are entering, there’s value being attributed to what they bring.”
Staff Sgt. Sameen Kabbaj-Spates’s, 21st Theater Sustainment Command Special Troops Battalion career counselor, found her purpose in the Army by working towards a goal.
“I wanted to find my purpose in service as a female,” said Kabbaj-Spates. “I did not want to be the "useless female" or the female that was just getting by - I wanted to be the high performer.”
Kabbaj-Spates’ motivation was her job and the Soldiers who surrounded her.
“I wanted to impact the next generation of the Army, but I wasn't the fastest, I wasn't the strongest, I wasn't a male, and I wasn't empowered,” said Kabbaj-Spates. “Instead of chasing promotion I found a position that would give me that empowerment, purpose and the opportunity to affect every Soldier in my formation.”
Dr. Lares has first-hand experience with the impact stereotypes can play on someone being hired for a job or being judged just on appearance.
“When I came out of Mortuary College and was looking for work as an intern as a young female in my 20’s, a pretty big problem I would run into was that they would look at me and assess me physically and assume that I wasn’t capable of lifting and moving things,” said Lares.
Ms. Sarai Watkins, the 21st TSC Special Troops Battalion Family Readiness Support Assistant, states that passion plays a significant role in a person's success.
"In such a male-dominated field, it can be very intimidating to join the Army or work with the Army,” said Watkins. “If working with the Army is something you're passionate about, I say go for it and don't let anyone deter you from your passion or dreams. Women are powerful and capable of anything we put our minds to. Be confident in your passion and stay the course."
Brig. Gen. Wanda Williams, commanding general, 7th Mission Support Command, plays a significant role within the European Theater. She is not only the commander of the 7th MSC, but she also serves as the 21st TSC deputy commanding general. As a premier leader for the U.S. Army Reserve here in Europe, this is a month that is dear to her heart.
"One out of every four Soldiers in the Army Reserve are women," said Williams. "It is an honor for me, as an Army Reserve Soldier, to stand beside all of these dynamic Soldiers as we continue to contribute and uphold the legacy of the great ladies in the military that paved the way before us. This year's theme is women providing healing and promoting hope, and I personally want to thank all of the brave female Soldiers and Civilians that provide that care to us all each and every day."