Traditionally, women have been underrepresented and even excluded from working in the security sector. As many of the women in our embassy work in this field, we were pleased to host a discussion about women in security on March 25.
Three women who are security experts shared their daily efforts to break down barriers and prejudices, including reflections on how gender has influenced their work, challenges they have overcome, changes they have seen over the course of their careers, and some funny stories from their everyday work. U.S. Embassy Assistant Regional Security Officer Mikel Gajkowski was joined by Professor Marina Malish Sazdovska from the Faculty of Security, Cvetanka Zatkoska – Chief of the Skopje Policy Department’s Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit, and Marinko Kochovski – Assistant Director for Border Police and Migration, who shared his views from the male perspective.
”I feel like security is one of those last bastions where women are really integrating. I came to see that modern day law enforcement and security are in the business of humanity, and women are now coming into leadership roles in this field,” said Mikel Gajkowski.
“We can use gender qualities of both women and men, as well as their different approaches and personality types to improve security services,” said the Chief of Crime Intelligence and Analysis Unit for the Skopje Police Department, Cvetanka Zatkoska.
Marinko Kochovski noted that the first woman he saw working in a police station was eight years after he became part of law enforcement. “In the past, women were considered not capable enough to conduct the work necessary related to general authority policing and were therefore placed at lower positions, such as traffic police. Luckily, things have changed and continue to change,” he added.
Marina Malish Sazdovska added that although the number of women in police has significantly increased in recent years, their representation at the managerial level in operative units still remains low.
For Women’s History Month this year, the U.S. Embassy in North Macedonia focused on recognizing women in security, their contributions and sacrifices in keeping our communities safe.
What is the Federal Women’s Program?
The Federal Women’s Program (FWP) was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson added gender as a prohibited form of discrimination in the Executive Order 11375. The FWP has a primary responsibility to identify barriers to the hiring and advancement of women and to enhance employment opportunities for women in every area of federal service. The U.S. Embassy Skopje Federal Women’s Program was established at the beginning of 2017. Its members volunteer their time and efforts in activities and projects in the benefit of women’s equality in the U.S. Embassy community and beyond. The Federal Women’s Program proudly organizes and coordinates the Embassy’s annual Blood and Food Drive every September to mark the U.S. National Day of Service and Remembrance, in collaboration with the Red Cross of the City of Skopje and the Institute of Transfusion Medicine.