‘Leaning In’ to empower women

Members of team Osan discuss equality and diversity in a group setting during a women’s empowerment forum at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 22, 2017. The next Osan meeting will be held March 29, 2017 at the Enlisted Club. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

Members of team Osan discuss equality and diversity in a group setting during a women’s empowerment forum at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 22, 2017. The next Osan meeting will be held March 29, 2017 at the Enlisted Club. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

Kimberly Gold, American Red Cross Regional Program Manager, discusses diversity during a women’s empowerment forum at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 22, 2017. The forum is designed to help develop, inspire, and empower women to step forward as the next generation of leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

Kimberly Gold, American Red Cross Regional Program Manager, discusses diversity during a women’s empowerment forum at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 22, 2017. The forum is designed to help develop, inspire, and empower women to step forward as the next generation of leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

Tech. Sgt. Heather Miller, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician, leads a group discussion during a women’s empowerment forum at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 22, 2017. The Women’s Lean In Together program helps men and women work through and recognize barriers together that maybe in the way of women and minorities being able to reach their full potential in the work place. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

Tech. Sgt. Heather Miller, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician, leads a group discussion during a women’s empowerment forum at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 22, 2017. The Women’s Lean In Together program helps men and women work through and recognize barriers together that maybe in the way of women and minorities being able to reach their full potential in the work place. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gwendalyn Smith)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

The Women’s Lean In Together program held its first monthly meeting on Feb. 22, at the Osan Enlisted Club.

These forums are designed to help develop, inspire, and empower women to step forward as the next generation of leaders. The program had its first launch at Yongsan in January and will have its next kickoff at Kunsan in either March or April.

“I believe this is a great forum for mentorship, leadership and networking development so we can bring the hard issues to the table and talk about them to get feedback from others,” said Tech. Sgt. Heather Miller, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician. “I like being able to sit there and listen to everybody’s personal experiences and opinions and then challenging them to think a little bit differently, or maybe plant a different seed for them. “

The program is also designed to help men and women work together to recognize barriers that may be preventing women and other minorities from reaching their full potential in the work place.

“Having this conversation about diversity sometimes gives [women] the courage to take those opportunities,” said Chief Master Sgt. Nicole Wilson 607th Support Squadron superintendent. That’s the whole initiative [of] leaning in, you are leaning into an opportunity rather than staying back or staying stagnant.”

Although the point of the forum is to empower women, Airmen of any gender are highly encouraged to attend.

“There’s a misconception that men do not support women,” said Wilson. “I think there are more men willing to support women then we give credit for. Events like this give men the opportunity to show that. That’s what the together part means, men and women [working] together.”

The next Osan Lean In Together meeting will be held March 29, 2017 at the Enlisted Club. Specific times have not yet been determined.

“I’m looking forward to this program growing,” said Wilson. “It will change and grow, but it definitely will continue.”