I have exciting news to share: I’m deeply honored and incredibly proud to be kicking off this year’s Women’s History Month festivities by participating in the upcoming Women’s Air & Space Power (WASP) Symposium.
The symposium is a virtual event, networking opportunity, and professional development series hosted by the Department of the Air Force (DAF). Panelists and presenters include esteemed Air and Space Force members, volunteers, and advocates.
With the theme, “In the Room Where Decisions Are Made,” the symposium (scheduled for March 8 – 10) will feature several sessions designed to both inspire and educate.
What is the Women’s Air & Space Power (WASP) symposium?
The first WASP symposium occurred in 1985 and was established and hosted by the Women Military Aviators (WMA). An organization of women pilots who have served or are currently serving in the military, the event initially was designed to celebrate the strong women leading contributions in aviation and aerospace. The symposium, hosted only sporadically back then, is now an annual event bringing together women across the armed forces and the aviation and aerospace industries to network, learn, and advocate. The event has become one of the largest global gatherings of women in aviation and aerospace.
Why is the WASP symposium important?
I’m so proud to be part of this event, and the notable history, contributions, and support it continues to offer women in the military, including:
- Calling attention to women’s contributions in the military: The WASP symposium honors the legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who served during World War II and paved the way for women in aviation. And today, it continues to serve as a platform to elevate and amplify the many contributions women are making in the fields of aviation and aerospace.
- Bringing women together for networking & professional development: This niche group of trendsetters doesn’t often have an opportunity like this to gather with peers, mentors, and leaders to both share and learn about new and important developments in their industry.
- Advocacy: Highlighting the many challenges women face in science, aviation, aerospace—and the armed forces—the WASP symposium is a rare opportunity for women in these industries to get together and encourage action that promotes gender equity and inclusion.
- Inspiring future generations of women in the military, and the air and space industries: Showcasing the gold-star achievements of women in these key industries, and demonstrating that there is a place for women in these often male-dominated fields, is vitally important.
I’ve said it before, but need to say it again: There’s still so much more work to be done
Moderating this panel is vastly important to me and my mission of uplifting others and advocating for victims of sexual assault and violence. The panel will be discussing how we might transform sexual assault prevention and response within the U.S. Armed Forces.
Back in 2021, when Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, first ordered the establishment of a 90-day “Independent Review Commission (IRC) on Sexual Assault in the Military”, we took one of several necessary steps forward in our fight against sexual assault and violence in the military.
Instituting the IRC created an opportunity to make recommendations related to accountability for wrongdoing. It also elevated discussions about sexual assault prevention and the climate and culture that needs to be changed—opening the door to impactful conversations around managing victim care and support.
The panelists and I will dive deeper into that landmark legislation, what’s changed since 2021, recent updates, what changes we may see in the months and years ahead—and important resources and recommendations for continuing the work that’s begun.
Joining me will be:
- Lt Col Carrie Lucas: Director of Integrated Medical Programs and WIT-lead for LOE 9
- Amy Little: USAF, Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Policy Analyst, Headquarters, US Air Force, Pentagon, VA
- Kelly Dominguez: SAPR Operations Program Manager, Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base – Randolph AFB, TX
I should add, our session designers for this discussion are:
- TSgt Meagan Carver: USAF, Instructor, Mathies NCO Academy, Keesler AFB, MS
- MSgt Samantha Payne: USAF, Superintendent of China Education for the China Aerospace Studies Institute, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL
Last year’s WASP symposium attracted a crowd of 3,400 registrants, and we anticipate this year’s audience being nearly double that number.
For more information
If you are a force member, you don’t need to pre-register for this event. And, members can view and ask questions throughout the symposium panels and sessions, via the event’s Facebook page.
The symposium’s collection of discussions, sessions, and panels will take place between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. My breakout session will stream live from the event’s Facebook page on Friday, March 10, from 11:15 – 11:55 EST.
For more information on the individual sessions and speakers, check out the symposium’s press release or review the event’s agenda.
If you’d like to learn more about my involvement in the WASP symposium, my advocacy mission, or my new book (“War at Home”), please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at Jakia@jmlindley.com.