By Mr. Derek Gean (Leonard Wood)August 18, 2016
The Fort Leonard Wood community celebrated women's equality Tuesday with a breakfast at the Fort Leonard Wood USO.
Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman served as keynote speaker for the installation Women's Equality Day Observance, which commemorates women receiving the right to vote in the United States upon passage of the 19th Amendment. Women's Equality Day for 2016 is Aug. 26.
Hardman, the third female mayor of Waynesville, is well known in the Fort Leonard Wood community and taught history at Waynesville High School from 1971 until 2001. She has also served as an adjunct history professor with Drury University for 20 years.
The two-term mayor paid tribute to historic female figures who have led the way throughout American history.
"Leadership knows no gender, and I believe some of the best leaders in history have been women. From abandoned mine fields, human trafficking and hunger -- it is women who are the leaders," Hardman said.
"Many women who have made positive impacts on society, in America especially, are only remembered because they drew attention to their cause the best way they could," Hardman said.
"They used a ballot, they used a hatchet, they even used an underground railroad," she said.
"They are women who literally changed history. They had something in mind, and they went for it.
"Women throughout history have been those rabble-rousers, they've been those passionate, unladylike reformers. They are the leaders of civil rights movements throughout our history. Around the world, there are many women who have led revolutionary events," she said.
Hardman spoke about historic women such as Harriet Tubman, Carrie Nation, Susan B. Anthony, and Rosa Parks -- all of whom were "rabble-rousers" in their own right, she said.
Hardman, who considers herself a "rabble-rouser," said being a female mayor has been a challenge but one she welcomes.
"I am a rabble-rouser and proud of it. I have stood for change throughout my career in the local government and my career in education," Hardman said. She said she has strived to build diversity and acceptance in Waynesville.
"We must continue to lead and work to make life better for our children and grandchildren," Hardman said.
Prior to Hardman's presentation, the 399th Army Band provided music, and participants had the opportunity to participate in a Women's Equality Day trivia challenge.