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446th AW launches inaugural Women’s Council

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - U.S. Air Force Col. Paul M. Skipworth, 446th Airlift Wing commander, addresses women from the 446th AW during a virtual Women's Council meeting here Nov. 7, 2020. The inaugural Women's Council initiative was launched to provide a community of support and a forum to discuss women’s issues at the 446th AW and across the Air Force as a whole. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ann Butler)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - U.S. Air Force Col. Paul M. Skipworth, 446th Airlift Wing commander, addresses women from the 446th AW during a virtual Women's Council meeting here Nov. 7, 2020. The inaugural Women's Council initiative was launched to provide a community of support and a forum to discuss women’s issues at the 446th AW and across the Air Force as a whole. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ann Butler)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Twenty Reserve Citizen Airmen from across the 446th Airlift Wing here attended the inaugural Women’s Council virtual meeting held Nov. 8.

The goal of the council is to provide a community of support and a forum to discuss women’s issues at the 446th AW and across the Air Force as a whole, said Lt. Col. Carrianne Ekberg, 446th AW executive officer.

“We want to create a collaborative environment where the women in this wing feel supported and we can build camaraderie,” said Ekberg. “Eventually, as this council grows, the goal will be to implement positive change locally and across the command.”

The idea of the council stemmed from a conversation Ekberg had with Maj. Candice Allen, 446th AW public affairs chief, and Col. Paul M. Skipworth, 446th AW commander. They discussed the current challenges facing women in the Air Force.

In his opening comments to the council, Skipworth shared a photograph of his three daughters as the reason why this issue is meaningful to him.

"We are still struggling with gender inequality in the Air Force," said Skipworth. "As a commander I would like to build a culture and environment where everyone can be their best. I want to be a champion and advocate for issues that cut across the Wing and that affect women across the command and the Air Force.”

He also shared the recent progress in the Air Force to include expanded range of height and weight standards for aircrew, changes in dress and appearance and fitness standards eased for women who have had a miscarriage.

The women’s council is something Senior Airman Pauline Espinoza, a 446th AW paralegal, said she wished they had around when she was a fuels specialist. Espinoza attended the council meeting in hopes of learning ways to better communicate strategies when dealing with gender inequality.

“I would like to network and connect with other women in the wing as a support group,” said Espinoza. “I see the council as an opportunity to share experiences and learn from them.”

As the guest speaker, Kristi McCann, the 446th AW psychological health director, shared resiliency strategies to handle the emotional and mental stressors of life.

The council is open to civilian and military women assigned to the 446th AW.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held virtually Feb. 7 at 11:30 a.m.

For more information on the Women’s Council, please contact Lt. Col Carrianne Ekberg, carrianne.ekberg@us.af.mil.