Fort Detrick employees commemorated the 94th
anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement by attending an event for Women’s
Equality Day, Aug. 26.
Hosted by the 21st Signal Brigade, the event began with a welcome from Human Resources Officer Maj. Janay Hurley who proclaimed the history of women’s equality through suffrage as, “a story that needs to be told.”
Event participants followed the welcome with the national anthem, invocation, a reading of the presidential statement and greetings from Maryland’s Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congressman John K. Delaney.
In reenactment-production style, several men and women dressed as significant suffragists, such as Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony, and took the floor to profess the views of their characters on women’s rights to equal opportunities.
In her keynote speech, Maryland State Delegate Kelly Schulz discussed her experiences with women’s equality, noting the citizens of the U.S. have made significant advancements and, although we have more progress to make, life is not nearly as difficult for women today as it was in the early 1900s.
“A lot of times I get the question, ‘How difficult is it for you as a woman in the legislature?’ I don’t know how to answer that question, because it’s really not,” said Schulz.
Schulz stressed the importance of focusing on individual skills and performance, rather than gender, and the possibility that certain situations may present additional challenges because of gender.
“Don’t get caught up in, ‘I’m a woman and there will be extra hurdles,’” said Schulz. “We still have small struggles here in 2014, but it’s nothing like the struggles in the 1800s.”
Perhaps as a result of the significant progress made in women’s equality, some of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command employees believe American society does not prioritize discussions on women’s rights.
“It’s amazing how little my daughter knows about women’s rights,” said Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Science Officer Amber Linde. “I think our younger generation has become complacent.”
Despite the sense of complacency Schulz believes, in time, the citizens of the U.S. will see a female president and residents of Maryland will see a female governor, but they should not elect someone for the reason of making him or her the first of one type of person to hold a certain position.
“I praise every woman who has fought for additional rights since [women’s suffrage],” said Schulz.