SEMBACH, Germany -- Women’s Equality Day is observed annually on Aug. 26. This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
For almost 20 years, Sergeant Major Tres Bien Adams has served in the U.S. Army. As she prepared to relinquish responsibility as the Dental Health Command Europe sergeant major, she reflected on her military career, the first time she voted, and women’s ever-evolving role in the military.
“Women’s Equality Day really highlights inclusivity,” said Adams. “It’s about embracing who we are as women, what we can do for our abilities, and allowing us to shine as Soldiers.”
In December of 2015, the Army announced that all military occupations and positions would be open to women. Today women make up 17.6 percent of the Army, the largest percentage of women serving since the inception of the all-volunteer force.
“Being able to see women graduate ranger school or to go infantry basic and be successful is amazing and I’m just in awe of what I watch women achieve today in the Army,” said Adams.
Even as recently as this year, women are still breaking through glass ceilings. Just a few weeks ago, a woman joined the Green Berets -- a first for the Army Special Forces unit.
Adams added that her advice to any young Soldier starting their career, not just women, is to set goals and not limit oneself.
“If you can dream it. If you want to do it. Go after it,” she said. “You would be amazed at what you can achieve and accomplish.”
When asked who inspired her professionally, Adams mentioned Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha Gavia, who most recently served as the command sergeant major for U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
As for the first time she voted?
“I was 18,” said Adams. “I don’t think that I really understood the gravity of what I was doing at the time but I’ve voted routinely since then. I would encourage everyone to participate in the electoral process.”
Military and overseas citizens can vote in this year’s upcoming presidential election. Visit https://www.fvap.gov/ for more information.