Fort Jackson Dental Activity hosted the annual Women's Equality Day luncheon Aug. 18 in commemoration of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The luncheon highlighted the 93rd anniversary of women's right to vote and recognized other accomplishments
of and by women.

"It's mostly recognition, and celebration, of our right to vote, and it shows how far we've come" said Sgt. Samantha Escamilla. "I mean, we've just had a female run for president."

Representatives from all units on post were present, as well as distinguished guests and members of the post command structure. The highlight of the equality day luncheon was guest speaker Mary King from a local television station.

"When I was asked to speak at the Women's Day Luncheon, I was thinking, 'Well, where do
I start?'" she said.

And that's because women have always had an impact on the lives of others, she said. Women
have been around just as long as men have, and have been able to contribute multiple ideas,
inventions and accomplishments. Women have been credited with the patents for inventions
we use daily such as the windshield wiper, the circular saw and the dishwasher. Rosa Parks,
helped advance the civil rights movement, so that not only women but also people of color
would be recognized as equals.

"As I started researching Women's Equality Day, I realized that a lot of women did amazing
things before they even had the right to vote," King said. "A lot of women have paved the way
to get where we are now."

One experience in particular resonated with King while she was in the infancy of her career:

"A woman came up to me, and she was in her 70s and 80s, and said, 'I was in your field, but
we didn't get to do the talking -- but we paved the way so that you could,'" King said. "It was
just a humbling moment."

Those women that progressed, despite the limitations of their times, paved the way for American women to set the bar as high as it is today. Women can now serve their country in the military, some can even deploy in combat arms jobs. Fort Jackson trains 60 percent of the Army's women Soldiers today. Women have always been an integral part of this country, and they continue to push the envelope with each accomplishment.

"It has certainly made me say, 'thank you,'" King said. "I'll never get to meet these women,
but I get to do what I love because of them."