By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleAugust 21, 2014
Fort Belvoir, Va. (Aug 21, 2014) - The Fort Belvoir Equal Opportunity Office will celebrate the 94th anniversary of Congress passing the Women's Suffrage Amendment during its Women's Equality Day observance at the Community Center, Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified by Congress Aug. 18, 1920, guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.
"We are celebrating the anniversary of women's right to vote," said Sgt. 1st Class Ebonie Washington, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, equal opportunity advisor. "Furthermore, we will discuss equal pay issues for women, too."
Retired Brig. Gen. Kate Kasum is the guest speaker. Kasun's career lasted more than 30 years and saw her become the first female selected as one of the college commandants for the National Defense University.
"Women served in World War 1 before they had the right to vote," said Washington. "That is the tie-in with Brig. Gen. Kasun. For her to reach the level of brigadier general, she definitely had to overcome some hardships. I'm sure she has suffered some unfair treatment along the way. We certainly want to hear her story and experiences."
Awareness of women's equality issues are what Washington wants the audience to take away from Kasun's remarks. Women's salaries are still 30 cents less to the dollar than males in some cases, said Washington.
"We have come a long way, but apparently we still have further to go if we aren't getting the same pay as our male counterparts," said Washington. "Even though women are quote-unquote equal now, there are some unfair things going on in the world."
The National Women's History Museum will have a display table at the observance. Items displayed will include the Army Nurse Corps uniform worn during World War 1, posters from that time period and other artifacts.
A food sampling will also take place during the observance. Washington said finding items for the sampling was tricky.
"There is no food you tie into Women's Equality Day," said Washington. "We are going to bring out the supposed favorites as part of the suffrage movement like Danishes and things like that."
Women earned the right to vote because of hard work by many strong, resilient women, said Washington. However, males contributed to the movement, too. Their contributions will be honored during the observance as well, said Washington.
"We don't want to alienate them either because there are plenty of male supporters for women's rights," said Washington. "We are honoring them as much as the women who fought for women's rights."