REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - Redstone Arsenal votes "Yes" for a successful Women's Equality Day.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Team Redstone welcomed Julie Schumacher, president and CEO of KODA Technologies, Inc., and former deputy to the SMDC commander, as the guest speaker during the Team Redstone Women's Equality Day observance at the Bob Jones Auditorium Aug. 28. This year's theme is "Celebrating Women's Right to Vote."

"The passage of the 19th Amendment was 70 years in the making," Schumacher said. "In 1848, women's suffrage was part of a larger women's rights movement kicked off at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York. During this time, married women who were part of their husband's household could not own property, could not earn money, could not own businesses, enter into contracts, or of course, vote.

"I didn't have to experience hardships that others have faced," she added "I'm grateful to many who came before me who were relentless in their fight, not only for voting rights but civil rights in general. Anti-discrimination laws and other equal opportunity laws have helped me and will help generations after me have choices."

Celebrated nationally on Aug. 26, the 2019 Women's Equality Day celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 26, 1920, which guaranteed women the right to vote. The amendment prohibits states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to U.S. citizens on the basis of sex.

"The rights we can easily take for granted were handed to us by those willing to sacrifice to right a wrong," Schumacher said. "For my own journey, women and men have been there to point the way, beginning with my mom right on to the people in my workplaces who invested in me. But this story is still being written for future generations and this story is not just about women helping women, it's about our collective task to create healthy cultures and even playing fields for women and all minorities."

After Schumacher spoke, one member of the audience discussed the importance of women serving in the military and how the future of the Army can only grow stronger when people recognize other's strengths.

"Women have had a long, but sometimes under-appreciated role in the military," said Capt. Ryan Enix, SMDC Commander's Action Group. "When or wherever, women have answered the call to serve our nation, and their impacts are enormous. An organization which can fully tap the potential of the women within its ranks will undoubtedly be better off.

"I have been blessed to serve with countless women and witnessed their fierceness in combat, their compassion in Soldier care, and their tenacity in accomplishing the mission," Enix added. "The profession of arms is a gender-neutral business, and women throughout history have answered the call. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my sisters-in-arms."

Another Soldier talked about how women throughout history have faced challenges and overcome obstacles that have aided following generations on their journey into the future.

"If it were not for the women in history fighting as hard as they did, it wouldn't be as easy for my generation to come in and be allowed into roles that typically were not open to women," said 1st Lt. Allyson Batte, SMDC Command Interest Program officer. "Now we are allowed every job the Army has to offer."