The role of women has steadily increased in the U.S. military, with women reaching positions of higher authority with thousands of troops under their command and control becoming more common.
The Guatemalan military is making advances by expanding the role of women in United Nations peacekeeping operations with a recently established Female Engagement Platoon.
U.S. Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) participated in an information exchange seminar focusing on the integration of women and equality in Cobán, Guatemala, at the Regional Peacekeeping Operator Training Center (CREOMPAZ, in Spanish), on September 24, 2019. The information exchange with 19 female Guatemalan military attendees was led by SOCSOUTH’s Civil Affairs noncommissioned officer (NCO) U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Almonte.
“They are just in the stage in their military where they’re starting to incorporate women into different roles other than support, and realizing the benefits and the advantages of incorporating women at levels of leadership, at planning, at different military occupational specialties,” she said. “It’s important to understand that it’ll help them grow to get to a point where they’ll have full integration of women in their militaries.”
Throughout the day topics such as the evolution of the female role in the U.S. Army, lessons learned from Civil Affairs operations, and NCO professional development were discussed. To help build partner nations’ capacity in order to increase security and stability in the region is always at the forefront of SOCSOUTH’s priorities.
“I was able to obtain a [level] of understanding on where these soldiers, these female soldiers, are coming from”, said Sgt. 1st Class Almonte. I felt it was successful in identifying some of the challenges they are currently experiencing in their newly acquired role as Civil Affairs soldiers and Cultural Support experts.”
The project was produced in support of a SOCSOUTH Military Information Support Program aimed at increasing the image of the Guatemalan Comprehensive Action for female engagement and institutional professionalization, and enable the U.S. partner to increase their security proficiencies.
The all-female platoon formed in Guatemala will be deployed in the Izabal region to assist with humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.