NDIA, Women in Defense take official stand on harassment, put support behind #metoonatsec campaign
ARLINGTON, VA – Sexual harassment and abuse weaken our national defense. The National Defense Industrial Association and its affiliate Women in Defense oppose harassment in all forms and across all industries, and call on national security leaders, uniformed military, government civilian and industry to enact policies to eradicate this behavior.
NDIA and WID support the #metoonatsec campaign. That and the recent open letter from more than 200 women with distinguished backgrounds in national security identify and highlight the problem of sexual harassment and abuse in this domain. NDIA and WID leaders are also veterans in national security and know sexual abuse undermines the mission.
“The defense of this nation on all levels hinges on an atmosphere of respect and safety for its workers,” said retired Gen. Hawk Carlisle, NDIA’s president and chief executive officer. “We cannot let continue a corrosive internal threat, the lack of respect for women and men in the workforce, and the associated atmosphere of fear and mistrust it perpetuates.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most accomplished women in the military. I know we need their talents and the talents of more like them. Sexual harassment cannot be our downfall,” Carlisle said.
Sid Ashworth, NDIA’s board chairman, echoed Carlisle. “NDIA’s role in strengthening the defense industrial base demands that we take a strong stand on this issue. We cannot tolerate this behavior in government or industry. We cannot lose strong and talented people because of this.”
With women comprising 51 percent of the population, “there is a security imperative to expand and increase opportunities for women within our industry,” said Rachel McCaffrey, WID’s executive director.
WID fosters professional growth through networking and professional development. It also creates educational, coaching and mentoring opportunities to encourage and enable young women to pursue national defense careers. “We can’t let fear of abuse or disrespect keep women out,” she said.
NDIA and WID offer their support and assistance to companies and organizations seeking help with this matter, and look forward to the day when it is no longer a workplace issue.