Celebrate Women’s Equality Day: Get involved in positive change

  • Published
  • By Angie Johnson
  • 52nd Component Maintenance Squadron
What is Women's Equality Day? This recognition day, held Aug. 26., is meant to celebrate the strides women have made, beginning with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, granting women the right to vote. 

The obvious reason women banded together in the late 1800's and early 1900's was the drive to be treated equal to men, and specifically, to vote in local and national elections. The history of the movement began in the mid-1800's. 

According to Jone Johnston Lewis author of "The Long Road to Suffrage," suffragists started meeting regularly in 1848. Julia Ward Howe and Lucy Stone founded the original American Woman Suffrage Association. Men were included in the membership, and the group worked for black suffrage as well as women suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony created the National Woman Suffrage Association, which only allowed women to be members. 

Johnston Lewis indicated that during the years leading up to ratification of the 19th Amendment, women's social reform groups grew in popularity. Many worked for woman suffrage but focused on other issues, as well. Eventually, the two largest suffrage associations combined, continuing to battle at state and national levels to pass voting initiatives. Women started to become more prominent members of other associations such as the National Consumer League. There were health reform issues to push and child labor laws to pass. The ladies were making things happen all across the country, in all areas of society. 

Spangdahlem celebrates Women's Equality Day by remembering the women who came before, pushing aside negative stereotypes and pulling together to make positive changes in their communities. They were wonderful role models, even for today's contemporary women, because they would not accept the traditional roles that no longer suited all women. 

As a contemporary woman, how can you get involved and make a positive change? Join colleagues and support each other in career and professional development. A networking or professional organization, similar to the early American Woman Suffrage Association, can provide many positive benefits. A base-wide proposal is in the planning stages. It would recommend organizing an event once a quarter to allow women and men, civilian and military, employed or not, the opportunity to: 

· hear an inspirational speaker 
· learn how to market yourself for future career moves 
· meet new people 
· grow professionally and personally 

If you're interested in joining or helping start such an organization at Spangdahlem, e-mail Federal Woman's Program Manager, at angela.johnson@spangdahlem.af.mil

You can celebrate Women's Equality Day, too. The positive change starts with you.