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Jakarta Post

Women in top military posts and the use of force

  • Fitri Bintang Timur

Singapore   /   Tue, December 18 2012   /  10:31 am

In the 16 days of the international campaign on the elimination of violence against women, which ended on Dec. 10, one question that should be asked is how women can protect themselves from harm.

One obvious answer is to empower them, with the definition of empowerment being the right to have a sense of self-worth, the right to have and to determine choices, the right to have access to opportunities and resources and the right to have the power to control one’s own life (UN Guidelines of Women Empowerment).

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of interviewing former US under secretary of defense Michéle Flournoy while she was visiting Singapore. Flournoy is one of the highest ranking civilian women in the history of US defense sector.

Flournoy’s qualification as a defense strategist is perfect: a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a master’s degree from Oxf...