By Christophe Morel, USAG Benelux Public AffairsAugust 31, 2018
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- Aug. 26 is Women's Equality Day. Each year, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women full voting rights.
In celebrating Women's Equality Day, the Army recognizes the significance of women's contributions, but also the value of diversity and an inclusive environment.
The Benelux community observed this historic day at the chapel on Caserne Daumerie. The guest speaker for the occasion was Army Lt. Col. Ericka M. Brooks, commander of the 39th Strategic Signal Battalion.
During her speech, Brooks gave examples of big events involving women. She talked about Kerry Walsh and Misty May, American beach volleyball players, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Malala Yousafzai, the world's youngest Nobel laureate who spoke up for female education, Madeleine Albright, the first female United States Secretary of State, the author J.K. Rowling, Gwen Jorgensen who won the first gold medal for United States in triathlon, and many more.
"Women were influential across all areas of life: sports, entertainment, politics, military, economy, science, technology, healthcare, judicial system, fashion, and research. And we were influential in more than one area at one time," said Brooks.
According to Brooks, women continue to impact the world. "Our influence, direct and non-direct, is everywhere," she said, before to tell a personal story. "Twenty years ago, I was walking in my cadet uniform on the grounds of West Point, New York, and I saw a little girl. As I walked by, I overheard her saying to her mother 'I didn't know girls can do this'. Her mother replied 'girls can do anything they want to'. That exchange stayed with me to this day, and it inspired me more that once [...] Yes, women can accomplish anything they want to."