CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- August 26 is Women's Equality Day in the U.S. Each year, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women full voting rights. In celebrating Women's Equality Day, the U.S. Army recognizes the significance of women's contributions but also the value of diversity and an inclusive environment.

U.S. Army Garrison Benelux's Equal Opportunity Office and the 650th Military Intelligence Group hosted a special celebration Aug. 26 on SHAPE.

Four panelists participated in the event: Spanish Maj. Gen. Luis Lanchares, Deputy Chief of Staff of Strategic Enablement at SHAPE, French Maj. Gen. Brice Houdet, French National Military Representative, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Carolyn Turell, command sergeant major for the 39th Strategic Signal Battalion, and Ingrid Covington, a representative from the British Psychological Society.

This year's theme is the right for women to vote, a right achieved at various times in countries throughout the world.

"It takes years for things to be set in motion," said Turell. "If there were no women like them [Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony], I would not be here today, and things probably wouldn't have changed."

Another subject of the conference was prevention of harassment and violence against women in the Armed Forces.

"A lot of things have been done. I have to say that we have to continue working in the proper direction. I have two things in mind for prevention. The first thing is education, and the second thing is commitment," said Lanchares.

Women's Equality Day is an opportunity to reflect on the many benefits of true equality and the role of women in our society.

"At the end of the day, we are all people accomplishing a mission," said Lanchares.