Hill Air Force Base – Women’s rights activist Lucretia Mott once said, “Any great change must expect opposition, because it shakes the very foundation of privilege.” Women’s Equality Day, celebrated annually on August 26, marks the passage of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution. The amendment prohibited the government from denying the right to vote based on gender, which gave women the right to vote. In November 1920, more than eight million women across the country voted for the first time. Until then, the movement for women’s suffrage had encountered many obstacles, with no solution. It was a victory.
Although this day is about the ratification of the 19th Amendment, it should also serve as a remembrance of the sacrifices of those who came before us; and serve as an inspiration to those who are still in the struggle, who continue in the pursuit of true equality that began over 100 years ago.
We have an obligation to this country, and to future generations, to ensure the recognition of women’s rights at all levels. As we recognize them, we must reiterate that women’s rights are in fact human rights. This fight will only end when everyone, in all aspects of life, experiences equality. We should all see the importance of our voices and carry on the deep work that others have fought so hard to achieve. The responsibility to ensure that this movement continues to progress and to help women constantly break glass ceilings, rests with all of us and serves as the true meaning of women’s equality.
As an active duty woman, the platform for women’s equality is the only reason I can do what I do. The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, enacted in 1948, gave me the opportunity to serve and protect this country. This couldn’t happen without all the hard work done by the women’s suffrage movement and their victory of the 19th Amendment.