By Lance D. Davis, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsAugust 30, 2016
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Aug. 30, 2016) - U.S. Army Japan's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment held an observance to celebrate Women's Equality Day Aug. 26 in the ballroom of the Camp Zama Community Club.
WED commemorates the Aug. 26, 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote, according to National Women's History Project's website.
"Today's event marks the day that women's suffrage was granted 96 years ago," said Capt. Patrick Shaw, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment for USARJ. "We had an event to appreciate the history of that."
"Women's Equality is important to us as a military profession, and to culture in the U.S., and the culture in Japan," said Shaw.
Numerous Soldiers, Civilians, Family Members, Local National Employees, and members of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force were in attendance.
The celebration began with an interactive, trivia challenge hosted by Yolanda Hingel, director of Army Community Service, in the style of the game show Jeopardy - consisting of various categories that included women in history, first women, and modern women.
The audience members were divided up into three teams: Red, White and Blue.
Team White maintained its lead taking the win with the help of team member Capt. Elizabeth Banger, operational law attorney at U.S. Army Japan, who answered numerous questions correctly.
"Having the game was really dynamic and really encouraged a lot of participation," said Banger.
She also said having senior leaders in each section was good for teambuilding.
The observance continued with keynote speaker Maj. Lyndsey Thompson, executive officer for the 441st Military Intelligence Battalion.
Thompson focused on the history of women's rights and struggles that women have had to overcome, citing that it took more than 40 years to get the 19th Amendment passed after it was initially introduced in the Senate.
"This wasn't something that was given to us," she said. "Women have had to overcome many obstacles in order to obtain these rights."
Thompson reflected on her personal experience as an African American, and woman, coming to realize the importance of women's struggles being acknowledged.
"I was raised in an African American household, and my parents took pride in teaching my brother and me about our community's struggles. So I don't take for granted the freedoms, rights and privileges that I have as a black woman.
"But what I think they inadvertently failed to acknowledge were the astronomical hurdles that women in general have had to overcome to obtain many of those same freedoms, rights and privileges."
Thompson said she was able to better understand those struggles as a working adult.
"If we don't acknowledge our past, we are doomed to repeat it. "
Thompson also acknowledged the progress that women have made over the years, alluding to Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson's appointment as the first female combatant commander as an example.
"It's important to have events like this so we can acknowledge the struggle, acknowledge the growth, acknowledge the progression, and ultimately refrain from repeating so many mistakes we've made in the past.
"Give us the opportunity - we'll break down doors."