NEWS | Jan. 28, 2020

US hosts joint effort supporting Women, Peace, Security in Jordan

By Area Support Group - Jordan Area Support Group - Jordan

The unforgettable words stated by the late Helen Adams Keller, an American political activist, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” still holds true, not just in the United States, but in regions around the world.

Members representing the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF), U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Embassy, Canadian Armed Forces and Jordan’s Directorate of Military Women’s Affairs gathered for a Gender Integration Working Group, hosted by the Civil Liaison Team-Jordan (CLT-J), Civil Affairs Support Detachment-U.S. Army Central (CASD-USARCENT), Jan. 23, 2020 at Joint Training Center-Jordan (JTC-J).

The working groups’ focus was to gain a collective understanding of progress made toward gender integration here in Jordan, pinpointing potential and current challenges while constructing a collaborative forum by way of joint, interagency and multinational entities.

According to U.S. Army Maj. Majel Savage, with CLT-J, CASD-USARCENT, coalition forces and the U.S. have been working diligently toward supporting gender integration and empowering females in the JAF. Savage served as the organizer for the networking event and to her knowledge, this is the first time a working group, specific to gender integration, has occurred at JTC-J.

The diverse group gathered collectively to support one common goal; supporting the Jordanian National Action Plan (JONAP) for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The ongoing goal is to increase efficiency and communication with individual units through a unified effort utilizing productive working groups, which takes a joint effort and help from all.

“Gender integration is something that spans across all aspects of military missions here in Jordan,” explained Savage, “It is important to work together to ensure that we are working efficiently and effectively together to enable the best partnership building environment possible.”

In attendance for the working group was Col. Maha Al-Nasser, director for Jordan’s Military Women’s Affairs, who expressed her firm support for the JONAP. While addressing the group, she elaborated on the importance of increasing the overall percentage of female representation in the JAF, broadening the training for female Soldiers and supporting adherence to the UNSCR 1325 on WPS.

The Directorate of Military Women’s Affairs, established in 1995, works toward providing women more training, increasing responsibilities and expanding the role of women in the armed forces to a higher level. This has helped foster more unifications with their male counterparts in the military.

The past five decades has shown what can be accomplished when entities come together in support of equality. The number of women enlisting into the Jordan military forces increased significantly after 1962 when the Princess Muna College of Nursing was established, being named after Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Muna Al-Hussein, mother of His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

HRH has supported nurses internationally and is the founder and president of the Jordanian Nursing Council, which was established in 2002. She has played a worldwide role in global health and social development, specifically with strong female involvement and participation. America also believes in these types of developments for more equality.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017 into law on Oct. 6 of that year. According to Public Law 115-68, the Act was enacted, “To ensure that the United States promotes the meaningful participation of women in mediation and negotiation processes seeking to prevent, mitigate, or resolve violent conflict.” The U.S. military has a long-standing relationship with Jordan to support our mutual objectives by providing military assistance to the JAF consistent with our national interests.

“We can learn a lot from each other about how best to support Jordan as it creates new opportunities for women in the JAF,” explained Savage, “From my own experiences of more than 18 years in the U.S. Army, I know firsthand that women are essential for the success of any military organization.”

The U.S. Strategy on WPS, signed in June of 2019, is a direct reaction to the WPS Act of 2017. According to the U.S. Strategy on WPS of 2019, “This is the first legislation of its kind globally, which makes the United States the first country in the world with a comprehensive law on WPS, and de facto, the first with a whole-of government strategy that responds to such a domestic law.”

This strategy acknowledges the diverse roles that women participate in to resolve and prevent conflict, counter terrorism/violent extremism and to build post-conflict stability and peace. The goal of U.S Strategy on WPS is, “Increase women’s meaningful participation in political, civic, and military processes to prevent and resolve conflicts, prepare for disasters and set conditions for stability during post conflict and post-crisis efforts.”

Agencies to implement the WPS Strategy include, but are not limited to, the Department of Homeland Security, United States Agency for International Development, the Departments of State and the Department of Defense. Together, our nations will remain ready and resilient for whatever the future may hold.

“Our respective forces are responsible for maintaining an upper hand to defend our nations, so we must remain committed to increasing our understanding, providing more decision-space for our senior leaders and maintaining ready and responsive forces,” explained Savage, “Which includes women to truly demonstrate that we are ready and trained to address unpredictable and free-thinking adversaries.”

Planning efforts are underway to make the joint working group a continual meeting of minds and efforts to support the JONAP through joint and coalition efforts. The date for the next Female Integration Working Group has not been confirmed, but is expected to take place in the very near future.

“The working group is something that I am excited to lead moving forward and I think that a quarterly meeting will achieve the first steps to maintain contact to specifically address gender related topics within the U.S. and coalition missions,” said Savage.