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“We have already been offered leadership opportunities” – Diario de Centro América

“We have already been offered leadership opportunities” – Diario de Centro América

Courtesy: Guatemalan Army

In a historic milestone for gender equality in Guatemala, Hilda Obaida González Klusman was appointed at the beginning of the year as the first female unit commander in the army.

“It is time to make a mark and promote equality between men and women.”

At 53 years old, she took over as head of the Regional Command for Peacekeeping Training (Creompaz), based in Cobán, Alta Vipaz, marking progress towards inclusion and equality in the country's armed forces. In the following interview, Gonzalez shares his experiences and thoughts about his new role.

What challenges did you face as the first commander of the Guatemalan army?

The biggest challenge is finding a balance between military service and family roles, which requires sharing time in quality, not quantity.

What is the importance of women assuming high-level leadership positions in the armed forces?

Women's leadership provides a diversity of perspectives, which is critical for decision-making and innovation in military operations.

How was your appointment as leader received and viewed?

The perception in the military is positive. We are looking for fundamental changes. Camaraderie prevails among colleagues, and the community, especially women, is represented. There is a possibility that in the future she will reach the rank of brigadier general and be appointed Minister of National Defense.

What does it mean to reach this milestone?

It would break paradigms, establish equality in abilities and skills between the sexes, and open the way for future generations.

How do you view the role of women in the Guatemalan Armed Forces compared to previous years?

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Today, we got leadership opportunities. It is time to make a mark and promote equal conditions for men and women in leadership positions.

What measures do you consider necessary to enhance women's participation in the armed forces and ensure equal opportunities?

We have been given educational equality and opportunities in leadership positions. Demonstrating competence is key to motivating women to take on military and leadership roles.

What advice would you give to women who aspire to pursue a career in the military and reach leadership positions like yours?

Continue to achieve your dreams with attitude, discipline and dedication in the position you hold.

Experience and ratings

Commander Abida González Klusman is a distinguished officer of the Guatemalan Armed Forces, with 27 years of military service and a long career in peace operations at the national and international levels.

Her experience includes participation as a General Staff Officer in the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), a United Nations Military Observer in South Sudan (Unmiss), and in the defunct United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Eritrea (United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea).

Before assuming command of the Regional Peacekeeping Operations Training Command (2024), she was Deputy Head of the Military History Service (2023), Chief of Operations of the Peace Operations Directorate of the General Staff of National Defense (2023) and Inspector. Military Medical Center (2022).

In 2021, he was awarded the Bicentenary of Independence Medal, first class; Medal for Perseverance in Service, Second Class, and a 25-year service badge.

Courtesy: Commander
Luis CarrilloLuis Carrillo