By Crystal Lewis BrownFebruary 25, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Next week, Fort Jackson will join the rest of the country in "Writing women back into history," with its annual Women's History Month luncheon.
The luncheon, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of National Women's History Month, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., March 3, at the Officers' Club. This year's theme is: "Writing women back into history."
Master Sgt. Cornella Bellamy, Moncrief Army Community Hospital Equal Opportunity adviser, said the event will focus on the accomplishments women have made throughout the past 30 years and is a way to continue to recognize the strides women have made.
"In the past, only 3 percent of teaching materials mentioned the accomplishments of women," she said. "Sometimes, we would only be mentioned in footnotes."
Today, she said, an Internet search can yield nearly 40 billion citations of women's accomplishments.
Women have also come a long way in the military, Bellamy said, and members of the Fort Jackson community have to look no further than post to see examples of that progress. Col. Nancy Hughes is MACH's first female commander, Bellamy said. And more recently, Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa King was selected as first female commandant of the Drill Sergeant School.
"A lot of people still look at the Army as being a man's Army," Bellamy said. "(But) we have a lot of women who have made significant accomplishments."
WISTV 10 news anchor Judi Gatson, who will serve as guest speaker for the luncheon, shared a similar sentiment.
"Whenever (people) talk about Soldiers, I think that the first thing that pops into mind is a man."
However, the Army has done a good job with making sure women are given the same opportunities as men, she said.
Gatson is no stranger to military life. Her husband of 22 years is a retired Army officer. Just don't call Gatson a "former" Army wife.
"I'm a military wife," she said. "Once a military wife, always a military wife."
She said she welcomes the opportunity to participate in something with the Fort Jackson community.
"I'm always ready to do something to support Soldiers," she said.
Gatson has been with the television station since 1995 and anchors the WIS News Live at 5, WIS News at 6 and WIS Nightcast at 11. She has won three Emmy awards for her work at the station.
Though women are being recognized for their achievements now, more than ever, Gatson said celebrating Women's History Month is a also a chance for women to be honored for those things they do daily.
"There's so much strength in what women do on a day-to-day basis. We have so much responsibility on our shoulders," she said. "It's taken for granted sometimes. Sometimes women shy away from the spotlight. I just think that it's really important to celebrate who we are as women, celebrate our accomplishments and ... shine a spotlight on those things we've done."
Gatson also said that while women are doing more today than what was possible in the past, it is important to keep a sense of perspective and balance.
"As women, we put so much pressure on ourselves and forget about that balance," she said. "It's OK to say no sometimes; you can put yourself first sometimes, you can still achieve the expectations and goals that you have set for (yourself)."