Educator outlines women's progress
August 20, 2009
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Dreher High School principal Jeanne Stiglbauer celebrated the achievements of women with Fort Jackson leadership at the post's annual Women's Equality Day luncheon. The Columbia educator also called for women to push for more progress.
This year's luncheon, held Tuesday at the Fort Jackson Officers' Club, was hosted by the Fort Jackson DENTAC. DENTAC'S commander Col. Michael Cuenin said he invited Stiglbauer to speak because she is a leader in her field who has garnered the respect of students and parents alike. Cuenin added that his son is a recent graduate of Dreher High School.
The official date of Women's Equality Day is Aug. 26. Cuenin said Fort Jackson's leadership decided to celebrate the day a week early because of schedule conflicts. Women's Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment which gave women full voting rights.
Stiglbauer, a wife and mother of three, has served as an educator in Richland School District One for more than 30 years. She has been named a national distinguished principal and recipient of the South Carolina Milken National Educator Award.
Cuenin said Stiglbauer's selection as speaker at the Equality Day luncheon not only honored the achievements of a local woman but it was also symbolic of the similar responsibilities of educators and military officials.
"A lot like at Fort Jackson, where parents leave their children to be trained, parents also leave their children at schools," he said.
In her address Tuesday, Stiglbauer told the audience of Soldiers, officers and civilian employees that "we have indeed come a long way, baby." Women's suffrage efforts in the 1800s and 1900s and the victory in 1920 have brought women to this point, she said.
Women have made great strides in the last 100 years. They are doctors, Nobel Prize winners and politicians, Stiglbauer said. Even still, she encouraged the Soldiers - particularly the women - to ponder and act on this thought: "What can we do to speed progress for ourselves ... for our daughters ... our sisters throughout the world'"
Stiglbauer said the 19th Amendment gave women their voice, but it is up to women to use that voice.
"The truth is that we're responsible for our own fate," she said.
Stiglbauer's words resonated with many of the women at the luncheon.
"I thought her comments were timely and appropriate," said Diann Lucas, an Equal Employment Opportunity specialist.
If women are to make any more advances, "we have to do it ourselves," Lucas said.
Paula Darrow, who served in the Women's Army Corps and is a senior operations assistant at Fort Jackson, said she truly appreciates the advances women have made in our society - especially the military. She admires that there is a garrison commander, colonels, command sergeants major and first sergeants who are women.
"When I came into the WAC, we weren't considered Soldiers," Darrow said. "And to see women now, they are on equal footing."