Women in security: person
where the experts come to talk

Women in security: personal stories

We ask women how they got interested in security issues, whether they've been victims of stereotyping and what personal experiences have struck them.

Women in security: personal stories

How did you get in to security?

My interest in getting

in to human rights work was

because of the work

going on in East-Timor.

I was out on a women

and peace-building conference.

It’s a country that does

need a lot of attention.

It was a major driver for me

to enter this area of work.

I wanted to be in the armed forces

because I’d seen way too much

television and I just really...

I had the Xena Warrior Princess

and G.I. Jane

and maybe even,

I think, Tomb Raider.

But this... I’m talking

about when I was quite young.

I wanted to be a fighter pilot,

I wanted to be a helicopter pilot...

What deterred me, was simply

the fact that I have very bad eyesight.

Is more focus needed

on women in security?

I remember very well

one female leader

playing her cell phone for me

where she had recorded threats,

death threats

from the Taliban towards her

because she was

standing up for her rights.

And this was

an everlasting impression for me,

telling me that we need to support

these kinds

of activities and these people.

I had an experience

one and a half years ago.

I was already working

for UN women, I was engaged in a...

I was at a reception, there was

a major development forum.

And I started to talk to somebody

from the Ministry of Planning

of a conflict... of a country in conflict.

A high-level representative,

we are engaged in a good discussion

and I ask him about

what he thinks about the issue

and the challenge

of sexual violence against women

and how to address the issue.

He looked at me and he said:

Well, I mean, to be honest,

what can men do?

Once they haven’t seen

a woman for a long time,

they have a dire need and can’t

do differently than to violate her.

I think if we get this kind of answer

and this is the kind of ways

to deal with the issue,

we still have a long way to go.

Have you been

the victim of stereotyping?

I do still come across a lot

of stereotypical behaviour.

So, it is often assumed

that when you get off a plane

as part of a delegation that

you’re the note-taker or the secretary,

when in fact you’re

one of the senior people on the team.

And that’s the stereotypical

behaviour I’m talking about,

but it has a high giggle factor

because it doesn’t bother me.

What is the value

of international women’s day?

There’s a lot of value

in connecting women.

Actionaid really believes in solidarity

and women’s day is

a representation of solidarity.

Women across the world

talk about the progress

we made on gender based violence,

on unpaid care work,

on women smallholder farmers,

on women’s access to health care.

It puts a range of issues on the table

for women to connect about globally.

Women in security: personal stories

How did you get in to security?

My interest in getting

in to human rights work was

because of the work

going on in East-Timor.

I was out on a women

and peace-building conference.

It’s a country that does

need a lot of attention.

It was a major driver for me

to enter this area of work.

I wanted to be in the armed forces

because I’d seen way too much

television and I just really...

I had the Xena Warrior Princess

and G.I. Jane

and maybe even,

I think, Tomb Raider.

But this... I’m talking

about when I was quite young.

I wanted to be a fighter pilot,

I wanted to be a helicopter pilot...

What deterred me, was simply

the fact that I have very bad eyesight.

Is more focus needed

on women in security?

I remember very well

one female leader

playing her cell phone for me

where she had recorded threats,

death threats

from the Taliban towards her

because she was

standing up for her rights.

And this was

an everlasting impression for me,

telling me that we need to support

these kinds

of activities and these people.

I had an experience

one and a half years ago.

I was already working

for UN women, I was engaged in a...

I was at a reception, there was

a major development forum.

And I started to talk to somebody

from the Ministry of Planning

of a conflict... of a country in conflict.

A high-level representative,

we are engaged in a good discussion

and I ask him about

what he thinks about the issue

and the challenge

of sexual violence against women

and how to address the issue.

He looked at me and he said:

Well, I mean, to be honest,

what can men do?

Once they haven’t seen

a woman for a long time,

they have a dire need and can’t

do differently than to violate her.

I think if we get this kind of answer

and this is the kind of ways

to deal with the issue,

we still have a long way to go.

Have you been

the victim of stereotyping?

I do still come across a lot

of stereotypical behaviour.

So, it is often assumed

that when you get off a plane

as part of a delegation that

you’re the note-taker or the secretary,

when in fact you’re

one of the senior people on the team.

And that’s the stereotypical

behaviour I’m talking about,

but it has a high giggle factor

because it doesn’t bother me.

What is the value

of international women’s day?

There’s a lot of value

in connecting women.

Actionaid really believes in solidarity

and women’s day is

a representation of solidarity.

Women across the world

talk about the progress

we made on gender based violence,

on unpaid care work,

on women smallholder farmers,

on women’s access to health care.

It puts a range of issues on the table

for women to connect about globally.

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