A multilateral conversation about gender equality

Japanese and Australian service personnel had an opportunity to learn about each other’s approach to gender, peace, and security (GPS) during a bilateral air combat exercise in Japan.

CAPTIONFlight Lieutenant Rosemary Callery addresses the attendees of the Women, Peace and Security networking event at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Komatsu Air Base during Exercise Bushido Guardian. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Campbell. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.

Networking at Komatsu Air Base during Exercise Bushido Guardian, personnel shared common themes about promoting women’s participation in peacebuilding and decision-making.

Many presenters, including Major General Ishibiki from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), spoke on the major improvements the organisation has made towards gender equality.

“Most of JASDF attendees are not familiar with gender, peace, and security,” Major General Ishibiki said.

“But, we have been engaging in the promotion of female participation during the 50-year history of women in JASDF in order to follow GPS’s visions and activities.”

About 9 per cent of JASDF personnel are women, however there is a goal of increasing this to 15 per cent by 2030.

Gender, peace and security is defined by four pillars – participation, protection, prevention, and relief and recovery. It shines a light on the increase of sexualised violence during armed conflict and recognises the important role women play in peace building.

The mixed participation from JASDF and RAAF at the event was a great achievement for GPS, as gender advisor Flight Lieutenant Rosemary Callery mentioned in her address.

“I strongly believe we need to celebrate men, too,” Flight Lieutenant Callery said.

“Better paternity leave and making flexible working available and acceptable to men will improve their personal and professional lives.”

The networking event allowed participants to discuss gender-based issues with their respective armed forces, including greater representation across different job roles.

JASDF officer Lieutenant Colonel Keiko Watanabe said that Australian and Japanese people are very fortunate to live in our relatively safe countries.

“There are many countries where women and girls are suffering, without human rights or a safe place to sleep,” Lieutenant Colonel Watanabe said.

“I sincerely hope we women and men work together for peace and security for all.”




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