By Tim Oberle, Eighth Army Public AffairsAugust 28, 2015
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea (Aug. 26, 2015) -- Eighth Army and the 65th Medical Brigade hosted a Women's Equality Day Educational Panel Aug. 26 at the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, South Korea to discuss contemporary issues and societal barriers that women continue to face in modern society.
Women's Equality Day was established as a way to commemorate the formal adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote, but Eighth Army leveraged the opportunity to further promote gender equality.
"We wanted to expand beyond the topic of women's suffrage and highlight other accomplishments that women have made over the years," said Eighth Army Equal Opportunity Program Manager Sgt. Maj. April Ivory. "So this time we chose to host a discussion panel to get some different perspectives from women in regards to the challenges they have had to overcome and address some of the new issues facing women in the military."
As a way to provide attendees with a diverse narrative during the event, Eighth Army brought in experts from a variety of backgrounds.
"We brought in seven panel members from a wide array of fields and service components to see if there are trends or concerns that women are currently dealing with out in the field and to see if barriers for women have changed in different sectors," continued Ivory.
During the discussion the interaction between the panel members and the audience was extremely positive and even got into some gender equality issues that are currently in the news.
"Our questions today ranged from the recent graduation of females from the Army's Ranger school, to how the Army has changed over the years," said Sgt. First Class Ramirez Wallace, 65th Medical Brigade Equal Opportunity Advisor and the NCOIC for the event. "I think it turned out really well and you could tell the audience is aware that change is happening and that we are moving in the right direction not only in the military sector, but in the civilian as well."
Ivory a 21-year veteran of the Army has been impressed with the Army's efforts over the years, but thinks there are still areas for improvement.
"I have been in for 21 years and I am proud of who we are as a military," explained Ivory. "I have seen opportunities for women expand greatly from back then up to today, but I also think we still have a long way to go."
As for gender equality here on the Korean Peninsula, Ivory thinks that strong and supportive leadership has made a big difference when it comes to supporting individuals of all backgrounds.
"Throughout the peninsula the levels of leadership are very supportive of equality across the board whether it is gender, racial, or some other area where individuals face unequal barriers," Ivory said.
As the event closed, attendees were welcome to stay and discuss gender equality issues further over food and drinks, but the general consensus amongst the crowd was that when it comes to gender equality, Eighth Army continues to lead the way.