JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.,--Men and women sat shoulder-to-shoulder in unity at the McChord Collocated Club, Aug. 21, to commemorate the historical struggle to achieve women’s right to vote during an observance sponsored by the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and the Equal Opportunity staff at I Corps.
It took a 72-year struggle, which began in 1848, to accept the 19th Amendment into the U.S. Constitution in 1920, granting women’s suffrage, their equal right to vote.
“It was a monumental event when more than 50 percent of this nation obtained the same right as men to vote,” said Col. Steven L. Bullimore, chief of staff, I Corps. “There is still a lot of work to be done, because some things are still not equal.”
As of July 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women average 79.7 percent of men’s average median weekly earnings.
Michelle Cuthrell, author of “Behind the Blue Star Banner” and a military spouse, helped to visualize the impact women have in their government during a speech she presented at the observance.
“Women have a voice in the type of government our Soldiers are giving their lives to protect and defend,” said Cuthrell.
According to the Department of the Army, women make up 14 percent of the Army’s active-duty force.
Women in combat is a reality and that’s why it’s so important for them to have a voice in government, said Maj. Timothy A. Terese, brigade commander, rear-detachment, 3rd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div.
“I support women who serve and see no distinction between particular roles because every soldier is potentially at risk and in harm’s way,” said Terese.
Honoring equality is exemplified by those who defend the U.S., and it does not go unrecognized, said Master Sgt. Linda Carter, wellness and equal opportunity coordinator, 3rd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div.
“Soldiers deploy to protect the freedoms we have and that’s why (they) risk their lives,” said Carter.
Deployed Soldiers took time to reminisce and participate in the commemoration of those liberties that they honor with their sacrifices and service.
“I am proud of what I do. We serve and fight for freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to be who you want to be,” said Staff Sgt. Tanya Pouncy from Afghanistan where she is currently deployed with 334th Signal Company, 3rd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div.
Woman’s suffrage affords those who desire a say in democracy, the freedom to do so.
“A woman’s rights are her pearls,” read Spc. Erin Fabbro, an automations technician assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., from a poem she read at the observance called, “Women Throughout Time,” written by Mofida Mahmoud.
Though society has come a long way from oppression and intolerance, there is still a need for improvement, which can be achieved with a ‘victors not victims’ kind of attitude, said Cuthrell.
“Today, we as Soldiers, as spouses, as part of a military community, get the privilege of carrying on the spirit of the women who sacrificed so much to gain those rights, the right to a voice,” said Cuthrell. “Because our service is not just for our current generation, our service is for generations to come.”