Event Commemorates Women’s Equality

Note: The following comments were provided by Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician Technical Yolanda Wade, co-chair of the Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Women’s Equality Day event Aug. 26, 2010. When asked to coordinate the Women’s Equality Day Celebration, I felt honored. Being a female, this was an event that was near and dear to my heart.

This monumental day, established on August 26, 1971, is important because it reminds us of the past, and by doing so, impresses upon us the importance of moving forward in the future! Commemorating Women’s Equality Day is important because it is a landmark international decision that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world. This 1920 court decision essentially gave women a voice, thereby offering a practical blueprint for ending discrimination, stopping violence against women and trafficking of women/girls, ensuring education/vocational opportunities, and increasing political participation including the right to vote and to hold political office. To me, women’s equality means that I am treated as an equal and not some second class citizen. I am not inferior, nor am I superior; but am equivalent to my male counterparts. Women’s equality means I am recognized for my differences as an individual yet I am valued for the gifts and talents I possess and the contributions I make. I’ve been in the Navy for 18.5 years and have watched this organization evolve over the years. While coming up through the ranks, it was rare to see minority leaders (females, African Americans). Literally I could count on one hand the number of females and African Americans leaders that crossed my path. To see the lack of minority representation inspired me to greatness. It motivated me to achieve and make a difference. Although there were many obstacles I had to overcome, 18.5 years later, I stand proudly as a Senior Chief in the U.S. Navy and consider myself one of those pioneering women.

Although there were some hurdles along the way in organizing this event, I was overjoyed to see the final outcome. The female color guard looked fantastic. To see all the females from the various services come together and be counted made me proud to be an America in the U.S. military. Excellent job Phenomenal Women! .

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