U.S. Coast Guard Captain Kathleen A. Duignan, U.S. Africa Command, Chief, Legal Engagements Division wrote
The Government of Senegal reconvened a small panel of experts from 13-15 December 2010 to review recommendations from the first and larger conference held on 4-6 October 2010 in order to ensure successful integration of women into the Senegalese military and security forces. This smaller conference discussed and refined draft plans to fully integrate women into the armed forces, addressing matters such as marriage, pregnancy, pay, pensions, and women in combat.
Two small groups met during the conference – one to discuss proposals on how to best to amend Senegalese laws and regulations to account for this change and a second group to discuss needed training and mentoring programs to ensure success with the integration. The groups discussed further details for the comprehensive strategy to such as the development of regulations to deal with issues such as sexual harassment, pensions, and lodging for female soldiers that take into account cultural sensitivities. All agreed that one of the most important aspects of the integration will be how to best sensitize the public to the notion of women in the military and their
assumption of non-traditional roles.
I was invited to continue participation in an advisory role to discuss how the U.S. military handles some of these issues. The work that Senegal is doing to plan for gender integration before it happens will most certainly set a high standard and example for other countries seeking to achieve the same goals. It was an honor to be included in this cutting-edge effort.
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