LAGO PATRIA, Italy - Allied Joint Force Command Naples celebrated International Women’s Day with an event at its headquarters building here on March 8, 2019.
"Today we are here to celebrate women of different nationalities, cultures, education and religions. We are united in our common interest to making the world a better place,” said Diana Sodano, the event’s organizer. "Balance for better is our motto. Let’s go in this direction.”
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
"In celebration of International Women's Day 2019, I want to recognize the accomplishments of women at NATO, specifically those who have shattered the glass ceiling. Currently, 6 out of our 29 NATO Allies have a woman in charge of defense,” said U.S. Navy Admiral James Foggo, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples. "With the pending addition of Northern Macedonia to NATO, that number will rise to nearly 25% of our nations. Since 1990, NATO Allies have appointed no fewer than 31 female Ministers of Defense.”
Four women and two men gave speeches.
"In a historically male-dominated leadership environment, influencing and later changing these traditional structures requires time and commitment at all levels since they are built upon culture and traditions that privileged males over females,” said Special Advisor to the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub/Balkans Lead Office Marta Przenioslo. "Several reports reveal that the biggest obstacle to improving gender equality is changing the attitudes of both men and women towards traditional gender roles.”
The program also included videos highlighting United Nations women’s activities, military women serving in deployed locations, and local JFCNP women.
"Women represent half of the population on this planet and the role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace building, post conflict reconstruction is essential, as it is essential to protect women and girls from abuses during armed conflict,” said Major Liliana Bjelic, French Former Gender Advisor. "Understanding the environment and adapting our forces accordingly, including more women in the military is not something that needs to be imposed by resolution 1325 but should be a logical process in facing complex international operations. I’m very happy to see the commitment of NATO in this process.”