From where I stand: “It’s time to empower women and ensure their participation in peace and security processes”

Maha Al Nasser is an army Lieutenant Colonel and Director of the Women’s Affairs Department with the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF). Joining at just 18 years old, she faced numerous challenges as a woman working in the military sector but never allowed it to stop her. Now, Lt. Col. Al Nasser has made it her goal to support other Jordanian women to enter into the military sector and peacekeeping processes, through the implementation of the Jordanian National Action Plan (JONAP) for United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

Date: Sunday, October 27, 2019

Lt. Col. Maha Al Nasser, 48, is the Director of the Women’s Affairs Department with the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF), utilizes her voice to empower women and ensure their participation in peace and security processes. Photo: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney

QuoteThe perception surrounding women serving in the military is very different now as opposed to 30 years ago. When I began my service in the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF), I thought being a woman would limit my opportunities for deployment and my chances to access a leadership position. 

 

Soon my mindset changed. I witnessed both women and men with astounding capabilities, both excelling in the same duties and fields. Throughout my service, I have advocated for gender-equal opportunities. Over time, I built the trust of my colleagues and their understanding of women’s empowerment. 

 

Today, I am the Director of Women’s Affairs and I oversee 17,400 women across all units in the JAF. I surpassed social and cultural barriers to be in this position, and I hope that under my leadership, women will no longer have to face those obstacles. We are devising a military sector in which women and men are seen equally and where they work hand-in-hand together to ensure stability and security – both in Jordan and internationally. 

 

Working on the successful development and implementation of the Jordanian National Action Plan for UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security has been a priority for JAF, and for breaking barriers hampering women’s participation. JAF priorities have now fully realigned to the JONAP’s strategy, indicators and pillars to ensure the advancement of women in the armed forces. 

 

This year has been pivotal in the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment for JAF. In July, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding  with UN Women, which will provide technical expertise and capacity-building on gender-responsiveness and meaningful participation of women in the security sector. These trainings will enable us to integrate gender mainstreaming and gender analysis in military and peace operations, ensuring that women have access to leadership roles. 

 

I will continue my position for as many years as I can, until the potential of women is fully realized. It’s time to empower women, support them and ensure their participation in peace and security processes.”

 


SDG 5: Gender equality
SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Lt. Col. Maha Al Nasser, 48, is the Director of Women’s Affairs with JAF. She is utilizing her position to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the military through the JONAP on UNSCR 1325. Her efforts contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which promotes women’s participation in peacebuilding, and SDG 5, which seeks to empower all women and girls, and promote their access to leadership and decision-making positions in all areas.

Under the JONAP, UN Women – in partnership with the Jordanian National Commission for Women – is providing technical assistance and capacity building opportunities to Jordan’s Security Sector Agencies in integrating gender perspectives into security sector’s operations, tactics and strategies. This initiative is generously supported by the Governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain, and United Kingdom.