If you were able to fly on board an EU Naval Force warship at sea to look at how it conducts counter piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia, the navy pilot that flies you on board may be a women, the officer of the watch ‘driving the ship’ across the Indian Ocean may be a women, the operations officer coordinating the military response to a group of armed pirates at sea, may be a women, the sailor dragging the ropes across the deck as the ship prepares to enter port to replenish food and stores may be a women.
Like their male counter parts, women have, since the start of Operation Atalanta in December 2008, been making a significant contribution to the European Union’s mission to tackle piracy off the Somali coast. If you were to speak to the many women of the EU Naval Force, who come from different EU nations, wear different ranks on their shoulders and carry out different roles, the one thing that they would say is that they don’t want to be judged by their gender, but on their ability to get the important job of deterring and disrupting piracy, done.
Speaking about International Women’s Day, the Force Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Pedro García de Paredes said “I am extremely proud of the many women who serve at sea in the EU Naval Force. As I visit the warships of my Force, I witness women and men working together towards a common goal – to ensure there is no safe haven for pirates at sea. On this International Women’s Day, I would like to send my congratulations to all EU Naval Force female sailors and officers and say thank you for a job well done.”
EUNAVFOR, March 8, 2013