WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — In honor of International Women’s Day, the Department of Defense celebrated recent advancements in gender equity and equality on March 8.

According to the DoD, it has made substantial progress both in the United States and around the globe for service members, which included Dr. Kathleen Hicks being confirmed by Congress as the first woman leader as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Dr. Hicks was sworn into office on February 9, 2021.

“Around the world, our Allies, partners and major international organizations are celebrating the advancements gender parity brings to the world,” Dr. Hicks said in a press release. “These advancements support better governance and a more stable and less turbulent world.”

Additionally, in the last year, the DoD appointed two women as combat commanders. This included Air Force General Jacqueline Van Ovost who took command of U.S. Central Command and Army General Laura Richardson who took command of U.S. Southern Command.

The DoD also highlighted its expansion of Women, Peace and Security Programing. According to the Department, these programs work to ensure that it “exemplifies a diverse organization with women’s meaningful participation across the Joint Force,” as well as expand opportunities for women and protect women during conflict.

This programming was utilized to support the relocation and resettlement of Afghan evacuees during Operation Allies Welcome, marking the first time the Department ever deployed this capability during an operation.

Deputy Director for Counter Threats and International Cooperation in the Joint Staff J5 Brigadier General Rebecca Sonkiss commented on these capabilities.

“This past year, we have seen firsthand how applying Women, Peace, and Security principles to efforts such as Operation Allies Welcome enhances our military capabilities and better accounts for the safety and security of an entire affected population,” Brigadier General Sonkiss noted. “Integrating a gender perspective to inform our military strategy, plans, and operations is crucial to building a more resilient Joint Force, capable of identifying and addressing strategic and operational blind spots.”

To conclude its advancements, the DoD also shared that in 2021 it released guidelines for implementing the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military. This was first established by Defense Secretary Llyod Austin in early 2021 to counter sexual assault and harassment in the military.

The Department of Defense is not implementing all 82 of the Independent Review Commission’s recommendations.