AMBASSADOR GALT: Greetings and a warm welcome to the participants in this week’s workshop on addressing institutional impediments to inclusion in the security sector.
I regret that I am not there to greet you in person, but I am delighted that you have a chance to meet my new Deputy, Manny Micaller, and that you are gathered in Ulaanbaatar for these important discussions.
I am pleased that the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies selected Mongolia as the location for this workshop.
I appreciate the support of the Mongolian Institute for Strategic Studies as a sponsoring partner.
My sincere thanks to Lieutenant General Leaf for his steadfast focus on enhancing the role of women in the security sector and to Dr. Lori Forman and her team for organizing what I know will be a productive set of discussions.
It is especially appropriate that this workshop is being held in Mongolia, which has been a leader in the region on women’s rights.
Indeed, it is commendable that approximately 6% of Mongolia’s peacekeepers around the world are women.
The focus of this workshop is very timely in view of the greater prominence of women leaders on the world stage in recent years – UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Korean President Park, Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi – and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the United States.
And in Mongolia, as a result of the June 29 parliamentary elections, there are now 13 women in Parliament, and two Cabinet ministers are women, up from the record of the previous government.
Progress in including women in the security sector, traditionally a male-dominated field, has been slow around the world, but just as we have seen in other sectors previously dominated by men – medicine, law, government – when given the opportunity, women can and do excel.
From a U.S. perspective, inclusion is not about quotas, which may be a useful tool in the short run, but rather about ensuring equality of opportunity.
When offered equal opportunities to enter and advance in the military, law enforcement, or other security sector professions, women offer skills and perspectives that make these organizations more effective and more efficient.
It was in recognition of this that the United Nations in 2000 issued Resolution 1325, which highlights the pivotal role women should and do play in conflict management, conflict resolution, and sustainable peace.
This is why this workshop is so important – by identifying the structural impediments in participating countries and regions and developing recommendations on how to eliminate or mitigate these impediments, you the participants can have a significant impact on changing policies and opening up opportunities for women in the security sector – and beyond.
I applaud APCSS and ISS for organizing this workshop and wish you success in your discussions over the next three days.