The presence of women in the military plays a vital role in peace operations, including raising awareness of women’s issues in theatres of action, helping to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of local populations, and improving operational effectiveness. This series looks at the experiences of women Signal Officers.
A portrait of Aigie Rose Okungbowa (Nigeria)
I have 25 years of experience as a Signaller with the Nigerian Army. I have also served three times on different occasions as a military peacekeeper at the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
During the course of my duty, I was deployed to Force and Sector Headquarters as a communication centre supervisor.
I was inspired to join the military because of its professionalism and core values. What attracted me to signals, in particular, is my passion for and connecting with people.
As a woman, I wanted to get exposure to information and knowledge and not be limited to roles traditionally assigned to women. Working as a woman signaller can be challenging, as men dominate in number and women, sometimes, are discriminated against.
You also have to be able to wear multiple hats and balance between being a soldier and a career woman and, at the same time, a wife and a mother.
I am proud to say that - with determination and effort - I have been able to accomplish both. The Women’s Outreach Course made me conversant with the latest technologies being used in missions. With information and communication technology (ICT) knowledge added to my radio experience, I will be able to perform better in the field.
If given the opportunity, I would like to enrol in a train-the-trainer programme and avail myself to others who could benefit from my experience.
To empower women who serve as military and police signals, the UN Signals Academy in the UN Regional Service Centre at Entebbe established a programme – Women’s Outreach Course. For more information, read the first article in the ‘Women Signal Officers’ series on iSeek.