With the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, women gained the right to vote, a theme celebrated this year at the Women’s Equality Day Observance, held Aug. 20, at Fort Bragg Club.
But, women’s equality is about more than the right to vote, and such was the homage that was paid during the observance.
Women’s equality is also about equal opportunity to education and employment, said Sgt. Ammiel Y. Swinney, of the 20th Engineer Brigade, the brigade charged with helping to facilitate the Women’s Equality Day observance.
The guest speaker was Command Sgt. Maj. Yolanda Tate, Fort Bragg Garrison command sergeant major.
“Women can continue the efforts of equality by soaring to new heights,” Tate said.
Service in the military is not about competition, it is about teamwork, added Tate who delivered a message about the equal treatment of women.
The work of honoring the women who have gone before current servicemembers can be done by being force multipliers — increasing the presence of women in leadership positions in the armed forces, she said.
At the end of fiscal year 2012, women represented a little over 15 percent of the armed forces, with the number of female servicemembers seeing slow increases.
“We are not retaining our female Soldiers like we need to,” said Tate, who espoused that women still face professional difficulties.
There are some who erroneously believe that a female servicemembers are promoted based on meeting a certain quota. But a woman’s ability to serve and be promoted should be based on competence, Tate explained.
Other events at Women’s Equality Day observance included singing of the national anthem by Sgt. 1st Class Tara Taylor of the 44th Medical Command; recitation of a Louis Rams poem, “Female Soldiers,” performed by Capt. Chinyere Asoh, the 27th Engineer Battalion adjutant; and a female tribute performance by women of the 20th Eng. Bde.
Chaplain (Capt.) Leyanne Ward delivered the benediction at the close of the observance.
“May the bonds of equality grow everyday,” she said.
Sgt. 1st Class Dale Smith of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, said he enjoyed the program.
“I am glad to see that they (women) are going to the top tier, not just when it comes to the military, but in our corporations as well,” he said.
Congress designated Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.