Female Engagement Teams: The Changing Face of the US Marines

Uploaded by whitehouse on 09.05.2012

Mary Walker: We're actually changing people's lives.
We actually have a hand in what is going on over there,
and we can do great things.
♪♪ (music playing) ♪♪
Sheena Adams: The Female Engagement Team is about a company size.
And what we do is we go out with battalions of males out into
Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and we
engage with the community.
Jill Biden: They create relationships with the women in Afghanistan,
and they're an important part of it.
And we've never heard the voice before of the women
in Afghanistan.
Mary Walker: Because of the culture over there,
our men are only allowed to talk to 49% of the population.
And as women, we're allowed to talk to the other 51%.
Jamie Isaacson: The biggest difference in concept that we have
is that we can go beyond, you know,
the compounds and inside and talk to these women, you know,
without any barriers.
Angela Nelson: The FET line has changed the role of women by getting them
outside, getting them interacting with the populace.
Sheena Adams: I don't like to be considered anything different,
a marine is a marine.
But we are still able to do something by cultural aspects
in Afghanistan that males aren't able to do.
Jill Biden: They help women with the things like all
American women are concerned about.
They do a lot of health care.
They help women start businesses so that they become independent.
They help with schools and education.
Sheena Adams: Starting a school from scratch, you think, oh,
you need a teacher and a building.
There's so much more you need to do when you do that.
And our teams help to facilitate that.
And we get the district governor or the district community
council, we get them involved in it and they take pride in it.
And all they have is a notebook and a teacher saying their
alphabet, and they go every day and they want to learn.
Angela Nelson: Went into the city of Ruppa, we took an English-speaking doctor
who was actually born in Iraq but had lived in France,
and we brought her back into the country and secured a
hospital for her.
She came in and provided some basic medical care,
some basic hygiene for the women and children to try and let them
know that these are some things that we can do for you.
Jamie Isaacson: This is every day.
You're trying to build up, you know,
this country that's war torn and women's rights are not
even acknowledged in the case of even being seen.
Mary Walker: We kind of found this hidden talent that we
didn't know we had before.
So it's kind of a big deal.
Jill Biden: These women are a whole new generation of pioneers.
This is something that really we've not seen
before in the military.
Sheena Adams: Afghanistan is not the only place we can use it.
There's other places where culture sensitivity matters.
Angela Nelson: You get a bunch of women in the same room,
no matter what country you're from,
and you're going to talk about things and you're going to get
that different story that a male soldier talking to a male leader
in that village is not going to give you.
Jamie Isaacson: It's a very big step for women in all military branches.
Sheena Adams: It is everything I ever wanted when I joined.
I love being a part of the FETS and I train them now.
Angela Nelson: I got to looking at a lot of the pictures
and there was this one little boy and he had put his head on
my medical pack.
And he's just laying there like this, and it's just,
you know that they looked up to us at that moment.
They knew that we were there to do good things for them.