Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Survey vessel HMAS Leeuwin has hosted a women’s forum while alongside Yap - one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia.
The forum included women from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Division of Border Control and Maritime Surveillance, the College of Micronesia - FSM Fisheries, and the Maritime Institute (FMI).
The Dean of FMI, Lourdes Roboman, attended the event with female Cadets. Also in attendance was the Yap State Government Gender Support Officer, Linda Teteth, and other key female leaders from government and businesses in the state of Yap.
The Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Pohnpei, Ms Vy Duong, also attended.
The event was jointly hosted by Lieutenant Commander Clare Randall, Leeuwin’s Marine Engineering Officer, and Lieutenant Commander Lauren Milburn, Australia’s Maritime Surveillance Adviser to the Federated States of Micronesia.
The discussion centred on achievements of the women in the forum, and what things made those achievements possible.
Some attendees shared stories about difficulties they had overcome in their careers, including societal barriers to military and police service.
FMI Cadets and personnel from the FSM Division of Border Control and Maritime Surveillance shared their career aspirations and hopes for future achievements.
“The women of Yap wear many hats, and rarely have the opportunity to gather in a group of this kind and share their stories and aspirations,” Lieutenant Commander Milburn said.
“The discussion highlighted the importance of role models, women supporting each other, and taking time to celebrate our achievements.”
Ms Linda Teteth, Gender Support Officer to Yap, thanked the Royal Australian Navy and members of ship’s company for this “opportunity for women, regardless of their backgrounds, to come together and unite, and empower each other.”
Conversations of this kind allow women from all nations to build the support networks needed to be able to succeed in their professions, particularly in the male dominated areas of policing, governance, and military service.
Following the forum, Lieutenant Commander Randall and Petty Officer Medic Ellie Breen donated children’s books collected by Leeuwin’s ship’s company to the after school care service established by Ms Elizabeth Phal.
The after school care service allows greater flexibility for working parents to meet the requirements of both their jobs, while knowing their children are cared for.