JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, UNITED STATES
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – “I am very proud to give a reverent tribute to those who came before us, who paved the way for women to live with more pride, ambition, freedom and opportunity,” said Col. Cathleen M. Nelson, supervising nurse case manager for the Warrior Transition Battalion and guest speaker at a Women's Equality Day observance held here, Aug. 22.
The origins of Women's Equality Day started in 1971 when legislation was introduced in Congress by Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY) to honor women across the United States.
Sunday Aug. 26, 2012 was celebrated as "Women's Equality Day" and marked the 92nd anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.
“Our country’s history is filled with women who had the intelligence, expertise and personal courage to face inequality and achieve what women before them had been unable to do,” Nelson said.
The women’s suffrage movement began in 1869 through the efforts of Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone.
“Through their efforts, women today proudly have the same right to vote as all people of this great nation. Statistically, many people in this country do not exercise their voting privilege; nearly 39 percent chose not to vote. The timing of this observance is very appropriate as we prepare for the 2012 presidential elections,” Nelson said.
“I encourage each of the women in the audience to reflect on what these women have done before us, what our forebears have worked endlessly to do. Each of us has the right and privilege in this democracy to vote and have a say in who serves as our Commander in Chief and leader of this great nation,” Nelson said.
For attendees such as Capt. Frances Wosu, chaplain, Madigan Healthcare System, the importance of voting could not be understated.
“I think it makes everyone count. We are standing on the shoulders of great men and women who recognized that we are all equal,” Wosu said. “For us not to exercise that right is like giving away your right to stand and speak.
“We fought so hard to be where we are. If we neglect that, walk away from it, that just counteracts everything that’s been done before. It’s important for us to continue the legacy, the history, and to pass on this same legacy to all those who will come after us.”
This year celebrates the 164th Anniversary of the Women's Rights Movement and the changes these women set in motion when they agreed to convene the world's first Women's Rights Convention on July 19, 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and women like Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Sojourner Truth traveled the country lecturing and organizing women’s support groups for the next forty years after Seneca Falls. Eventually women’s suffrage emerged as the central issue, since the vote would provide the means to achieve the other reforms.
“There was such opposition to the movement that it took years for the women and their male supporters to be successful," Nelson said.
“If Susan B. Anthony and later historical figures such as Rosa Parks or Sandra Day O’Connor had quit, we wouldn’t be the great nation that we are today. My vote matters and it’s a right and privilege that was earned on behalf of all women less than 100 years ago.”
||JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, US
This work, JBLM Observes Women’s Equality Day, by SSG Mark Miranda, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.