SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
A nationally recognized day is
being celebrated here, Aug. 18-26. Women’s Equality Day is commemorated each
year in the U.S. to recognize women’s strides toward gender equality.
In honor of this day, Seymour
Johnson is displaying posters throughout the base, showing free movies Aug. 18,
22 and 24 about women empowerment (A League of Their Own, Hunger Games and
Brave) at the base theater, and are having a Battle of the Belles fitness
competition Aug. 26.
“This is something everyone should
be aware of,” said Staff Sgt. Amber Morehouse, 4th Medical Support Squadron
exceptional family member relocation coordinator. “We should be empowered and
encouraged to continue to make a change, make a difference and never stop
pushing over and above the limit.”
The history of Women’s Equality Day
began in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York, where the first women’s rights
conference was held. That conference began the movement that lead to thousands
throughout the country participating in marches in more than 50 cities and towns,
distributing editorials and pamphlets, forming political organizations and
spreading the word to achieve women’s suffrage.
The efforts of all who fought for
this basic right, such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul
and Eleanor Roosevelt, were not in vain. Finally, on Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th
Amendment was passed, granting women the right to vote.
“To me [Women’s Equality Day] means
to have a position or to have the same voice as a male would,” said Morehouse.
Women’s Equality Day also
memorializes the day the 19th Amendment was ratified.
“Women’s equality means having your
voice be heard,” said Staff Sgt. Jamie Espitia, 4th Medical Support Squadron
NCO in charge of the uniformed business office. “A lot of people listen, but
they don’t hear. I think it’s really important that women are becoming more
vocal. We’re becoming more knowledgeable; we’re not just ‘Suzy-home-makers’
anymore and fitting that cookie-cutter role.”
Women from all over are still
fighting to make a difference and take a stand in the world, according to
Espitia. More importantly, they are succeeding.
“We are becoming better and better
with every generation at what men can do,” said Espitia. “I believe we should
get equal pay, equal benefits and equal jobs, not because they want to give it
to us, but because we deserve it.”
Females in today’s world now hold
approximately 27 percent of the U.S. courts, run their own businesses and are
able to fill any role (recently including combat roles) in the military.
“We couldn’t even vote a century
ago, and now, not only are we voting, we’re partaking in politics,” Espitia
said. “We’re senators and congressmen. We’re sitting on the benches as judges …
women of all races and ethnicities.”
Pushing themselves past their
limits, women have made strides toward equality. Women are still fighting for
equal pay, benefits and proving their strength is equal, but each day they are
getting closer to winning their battle.
“Whether it’s on your fitness,
educational or political level, or fighting for our rights to have equal pay
and benefits, we have a lot to offer,” said Espitia “I think it’s not heard. I
think people want to listen and support, but they’re not hearing what it
actually is to be a woman in today’s society. It’s really important to spread
Espitia believes women shouldn’t
conform to what society expects of them.
“It’s okay to be you and stick up
for yourself; you don’t have to change,” Espitia said.
Espitia believes women shouldn’t conform to what society expects
of them. She encourages women to be themselves and stick up for themselves.
“Women have been setting these high
standards, and that’s something I feel that women should be proud of,” said
Morehouse. “No matter what country they’re in or who they’re representing, it’s
a woman who pushed to set the standard.”