News: Transit Center celebrates Women’s Equality
Story by Master Sgt. Jason Vaught
TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan - Members assigned to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan came together for a luncheon Aug. 27, 2012 in honor of Women’s Equality Day.
First introduced by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1971, Women's Equality Day commemorates Aug. 26, the day when women across America were given the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment. Women's Equality Day is proclaimed each year by the President of the United States to remind all citizens that women and men are and should be treated as equals.
The luncheon, organized by members of the Transit Center 5/6 Council, featured keynote speaker, Col. Shirlene Ostrov, 376th Expeditionary Mission Support Group commander. Ostrov, a native of Honolulu, shared stories of growing up around women’s equality issues and recent travels to remote regions in Southern Sudan.
“Women’s equality highlights the diversity of our nation and greatly enhances our mission readiness,” she said.
Ostrov’s role in Sudan was part of a National Defense Fellowship program for the U.S. Department of State. While there she worked for the U.S. Envoy to Sudan studying the interaction and linkages between diplomacy and the military in an embedded setting. Her passion towards women’s equality allowed her the opportunity to meet and talk with women and children in local villages about the importance of women’s rights.
It's important for those who have or will have daughters in the future to continue to support programs like Women’s Equality Day, said Ostrov. It says a lot about the diversity of our men and women in uniform when they take time out of their day to make this a memorable occasion.
Tech. Sgt. Vernon Davenport, event organizer and medical technician deployed from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio helped contribute to the events success.
“I’ve been interested in women’s equality for years and this was just one way to show my support,” said the native of Hartshorne, Okla. “The team we had was awesome and they truly showed how even in a deployed environment we should always take time to recognize impactful events like these.”
Women’s Equality is just one of the many programs the Transit Center Equal Opportunity office participates in to keep base personnel informed during observances.
Tech. Sgt. Arlene Gentry, Transit Center EO director served as an advisor to the event organizers.
“This was a great turnout and it was nice how the base came together to show their support for an issue that affects so many women in other countries who do not have the same rights as us,” said Gentry, who is deployed from Fairchild AFB and is a native of Yuma, Ariz. “To hear Colonel Ostrov’s experience in Sudan, helping the women there understand their right to vote was really moving. It shows how many countries are still facing struggles in regards to equality.”
Ostrov concluded the luncheon with a few trivia questions aimed at testing the audiences’ knowledge on Women’s Equality. To the surprise of many, the majority of questions were answered correctly by men who were in attendance to show their support for Women’s Equality Day.
To find more information about Women's Equality Day go to the following websites: www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/amendment_19/ or www.nwhp.org/resourcecenter/equalityday.php.