Area IV soldiers, community celebrate women's equality
CAMP WALKER, South Korea--"There have been glass ceilings breaking for years ever since the time of the women's right to vote and as we celebrate this year's international theme of "Inspiring Change" it has become so much more than that now; it's about women's rights to wages, women's rights to education, and women's right to live free of violence and more," said the Commanding General of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen.
More than 200 Soldiers, Families, and Civilians of U.S. Army Garrison Daegu community celebrated the 94th anniversary of 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women in the United States the right to vote, Aug. 9.
Farmen said, "Let's think about our Army, in the 19th ESC there are over 600 women in our organization and over 74,000 women in our Army and just this past April 33,000 positions, that were closed to women, are now open, now that's pretty powerful."
Inspiring Change is the 2014 international theme that encourages the advocacy for women's advancement everywhere and in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women's equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.
The celebration kicked off on Kelly field with Zumba given by Kelly Fitness Center's Zumba instructor, Mercedes Woodberry, followed by a 3K Run/Walk for all participants.
Master Sgt. Nancy R. Anthony, Equal Opportunity program manager, 19the ESC emphasized the importance of the men from Area IV coming out to show support for the Women's Equality event, which she said shows a more unified community.
"It's awesome to see our senior leaders set the tone for such an awesome event and it stresses how we work together as a team," said Anthony. "Equal rights is an ongoing issue and we need to continue to empower the women in our areas and the girls in our communities that are growing up because we need more leaders; we are still fighting for equal rights and we need all the support we can get."
Women's Equality Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.
The keynote speaker for the event, Lt. Col. Juanita R. Clarke, commander of the 194th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Camp Humphrey's, Korea, one of 19th ESC's most senior Soldiers, gave a compelling speech about the Woman's Suffrage Movement and how far women still have to go to gain equality.
"World War II was the catalyst for breaking down barriers women previously faced in the workplace. Widespread male enlistment left gaping holes in the industrial labor force resulting in 1 out of every 4 women working outside the home," said Clarke. "So I salute many of you who chose to serve or contribute to our nation and society through your military service, government service, community service and family. Your significant contributions breathed new life into our country and moved us closer to freedom and liberty we sought in 1776."
Clark pointed out both positive and negative statistics in the fight women have for equal rights but said she is hopeful that men and women will eventually work together to develop policies in programs that will benefit and address the needs and concerns of all people.
"Until such time, we need to teach our girls and young women about their worth and value. We need to support their dreams and encourage them to not let barriers stand in the way of them reaching their goals and potential," said Clarke. "Above all, we need to ensure they know that in our great nation of the United States of America, we are all created equal under the law."