Fort Sam celebrates Women's Equality Day
September 4, 2009
- Fort Sam Houston celebrated "Women's Equality Day" with a presentation by Col. (Dr.) Patricia Hastings, who discussed women's history
Fort Sam Houston celebrated "Women's Equality Day" with a presentation by Col. (Dr.) Patricia Hastings, who discussed women's history and women's roles in society and the U.S. military, Aug. 26.
U.S. Congress designated Aug. 26 "Women's Equality Day" in 1971 in response to a request from U.S. Representative Belle Abzug to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote.
"I am honored to be asked to speak here today," said Hastings, director, Army Emergency Medical Services.
"I had the good fortune to come into the Army. I had the good fortune to be able to have the right to vote. It's only been 89 years since women have had the vote. That really isn't all that long.
My first job was as a nurse. Why did I go to nursing school instead of medical school' Basically, the women in my Family went to nursing school and the men went into the service," she explained.
She said she did not see herself as a physician until one of the doctors she worked with suggested medical school.
"That made a huge difference. I didn't feel like I had to just be pretty in order to succeed," she said.
She also encouraged her audience to connect with the past and credited the military with this country's success in the world through its recognition of women.
"Don't forget history. If we forget our history, we are doomed to repeat it," said Hastings.
"In the '70s women were integrated into the Army. In the '80s they were able to have children while in the Army.
When you look at those countries that don't use the brain power of women you can see that educationally, economically and socially they have some real challenges. We also see a higher death rate for children and a much higher mortality rate for women in child birth," she said.
After Hastings spoke, Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Harris, equal opportunity adviser, presented her with a framed Women's Equality Day proclamation signed by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and a book of quotes, titled "Cheers."
Longtime Army Community Service volunteer Charles Shelby also presented Hastings with a framed Abigail Adams stamp panel.
"It is extremely important that every month we take time to recognize these special celebrations to help us remember the diversity of our great nation, and all the different influences that help hold us together today," said U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Mary Garr.