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DACOWITS Boosts Recruiting Efforts in Communities

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2001 – Members of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services pledged last fall to come up with 50 ways to help recruiting efforts in their home communities.

They outdid themselves.

The count stands at 73, and some things are "still in the works," committee chairwoman Vickie McCall said.

"It was like turning on a faucet," McCall said. "We didn't give any guidelines. Each of the members decided in their own way what they could do to be most effective." McCall is in her second year as head of the 35-member committee.

She said DACOWITS considers recruiting and retention serious issues for the military and wanted to demonstrate that concern. In the past six months, she said, committee members have spoken in their communities, worked with their local recruiters and written to college deans urging unfettered access for recruiters.

McCall believes these grass-roots outreach efforts are a great way for DACOWITS to "talk about all of the good things that are happening" in the military.

"Sometimes the American public doesn't see the good-news side of those issues," she said. "When we read about things that are tragedies or you see negative things in the press, you don't realize there are great women and men that, every day, put on a uniform and go out to do good things for the American people."

The main challenge to recruiting women is that they don't tend to think of military service as a likely career, McCall said.

"The challenge for us comes in making sure women understand that even though they're only 15 percent of the force, they have a place," she said. "They can contribute. That glass ceiling is showing some cracks. We need women to know the military is a great place to start your career."

DACOWITS was established in 1951 by Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall to advise the secretary on policies and matters relating to women in the military. The committee meets twice a year to discuss current issues facing women in the military services.

For more information on DACOWITS, visit their Internet home page at http://www.dtic.mil/dacowits/.

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