The representation of women in both the U.S. military and government has been increasing in recent years, but there is still a long way to go in order to reach true equality.
Currently, women make up only 18 percent of the officer corps and 4 percent of the enlisted forces in the U.S. military and 24 percent of the U.S. Congress.
Samantha Nerove, the founder and CEO of the non-profit, non-partisan group America Matters, understands this is an issue after spending 25 years in the army, where she found herself largely outnumbered by men.
“I spent 25 years in the service and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, where I was often outnumbered by men. That is not a criticism of the Army or my time spent serving, it’s merely an observation that women aren’t as involved in that space and I want to change that,” she said.
And Nerove, through America Matters, is on her way to do just that.
Her organization recently launched a new initiative called Women Lead the Way, which is aimed to place women at the forefront of policy discussions and decision, especially in historically overlooked fields.
“Countries that empower their women have peace and prosperity as their calling card,” she said at the summit.
Why Nerove started the initiative
Women Lead the Way was born out of Nerove’s dedication to the cause of empowering women.
“Women Lead the Way was inspired by my lifetime pursuit of empowering women. It is the next chapter in my organization’s dedication to making the world more stable and secure for all of us,” she said.
Nerove founded America Matters to address issues important to the American people.
The organization focuses on issues of security, education and service while promoting freedom and prosperity for all Americans — regardless of political affiliation, race, gender or sexual orientation.
Isn't it about time for a group that focuses on people, not party or politics? Join us by liking our page and become part of a positive movement.
Posted by America Matters on Monday, September 12, 2016
While the organization works on issues of diversity and inclusion, Nerove decided to launch a separate program that focuses entirely on women’s empowerment.
“When we empower women, give them the resources and platforms to be leaders, our country and communities benefit,” she said at the summit.
Nerove realized that in order for the United States to move forward as a leader of prosperity and peace, women will need to be more represented in areas that have historically overlooked or excluded them.
“I observed that solving the problems our nation is facing will be require drawing on a robust range of perspectives,” she said. “To solve these difficult issues it will require empowering the incredible women of our nation to be more involved. I developed Women Lead the Way to begin that process.”
The importance of empowering women
Studies have shown that having more women in power can help increase economic strength and quality of life, and help decrease corruption and mortality rates, Nerove explained.
The program’s first initiative will be a project to team up with women in U.S. national security, in partnership with countries in the Middle East who are demonstrating an increased dedication to empowering women, said Nerove.
In this way, Women Lead the Way will serve as a platform to help American women interact with women from around the world, in order to pursue global female empowerment.
“With Women Lead the Way, I am most looking forward to developing opportunities for American women to interface with women around the world to advance global peace and prosperity,” Nerove said.
Natalie Colarossi is a journalism major and global studies minor working toward her bachelor’s degree at Ohio University. She is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has covered a number of topics including art, culture, politics, music, and travel. Her greatest passion and priority is to travel, and she hopes to experience as many places and cultures as possible.