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Women's Equality: It's about everyone, it's about respect

A panel of women will share their stories and take questions about how they got to where they are today Aug. 26, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Panel members include Peggy Moore-McCoy, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator; Retired Chief Master Sgt. Marilyn Savage, 460th Contracting Flight; and Senior Master Sgt. Erin Davis, 460th Medical Support Squadron superintendent. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors)

A panel of women will share their stories and take questions about how they got to where they are today Aug. 26, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Panel members include Peggy Moore-McCoy, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator; Retired Chief Master Sgt. Marilyn Savage, 460th Contracting Flight; and Senior Master Sgt. Erin Davis, 460th Medical Support Squadron superintendent. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Rosie the Riveter, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Addams, Helen Taft. The faces of these iconic women we learn of in history lessons are the first I think of when I consider the journey toward "Women's Equality."

But when I really contemplate what Women's Equality Day means, it's not just about the women who made the newspaper for their publicly courageous acts. Nor do I really think it's about women alone.

I stand on my mother's shoulders, just as she stood on her mother's. Though we may be ordinary folk living fairly ordinary lives, we share a piece in this history just the same as the women who felt change was needed even before Abigail Adams wrote her husband, John, as he set off to take part in the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

"Remember the Ladies," she penned in 1776.

Thinking about my own experiences, there have been times I needed to prove myself -- maybe because I am small, maybe because I wasn't afforded the same training, or maybe because I am a woman. On my first deployment, it took three months for my male teammates to accept that I was tough enough and competent enough. I didn't do anything extra to prove myself; I did my job, and I did it well.

Then, though, I think of my mother's stories of serving in the U.S. Army nearly 40 years ago. Our experiences lay in two separate worlds.

I stand on my mother's shoulders.

We stand for women's equality in our own rights, maybe not as actively as some women, but in our daily lives. Many women and men in history did the same, lending their own gifts and voices to the world. Mary Lyon founded a college in the early 1800s. Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery and led others to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Henry Blackwell aided fellow women's rights activists in creating the American Women Suffrage Association. Jeannette Rankin was the first women elected to the U.S. Congress, and she also helped pave the way for the 19th Amendment to secure equal voting rights regardless of gender. In the early 90's, now Col. Jeannie Leavitt became the U.S. Air Force's first female fighter pilot.

Even today, there are certain rights women are not afforded simply due to anatomy differences. Let's be clear, though, there is no simple answer as to against whom women fight for rights. The adversary has many faces.

Take a minute, if you will, to consider about whom Women's Equality Day is supposed to be. My answer is this: everyone. Whether we're talking gender equality, race equality, equality in the workplace or in social scenes, same-sex marriage, or age equality, my beliefs are very simple. It's about everyone, and it's about respect.

(Information from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection website was used in this article.)

Women's Equality Day Observance at Buckley Air Force Base
3 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Panther Den

Listen to a panel of women share their stories and take questions about how they got to where they are today. Panel members include Peggy Moore-McCoy, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator; Retired Chief Master Sgt. Marilyn Savage, 460th Contracting Flight; and Senior Master Sgt. Erin Davis, 460th Medical Support Squadron superintendent.

Service members, civilians and family members are all welcome
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