By Alexandra Hemmerly-BrownMarch 5, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 4, 2010) -- During the Joint Services Women's History Month Observance on Capitol Hill Thursday, a Senate Resolution to recognize the accomplishments of women in the military was presented and then accepted by a female wounded warrior.
Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Wilson, who lost her left arm in 2004 after an improvised explosive device hit her convoy in Iraq, accepted the resolution on behalf of "each and every woman that's served in the U.S. military." The resolution, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer of California was given in Wilson's honor.
"I wouldn't have thought that six years down the road, someone would be thinking about me," Wilson said of her surprise at being asked to accept the resolution.
Boxer's office said the senator introduced the resolution because she wanted to highlight the accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices of women like Wilson in the military.
The resolution concludes with five points that the Senate pledges to uphold: to acknowledge the contributions of women in the military, celebrate the role women play, recognize the unique challenges women face, to strengthen programs for women and to honor women veterans.
Present at the observance were female generals and flag officers from each service, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Rep. Susan Davis of California, and event host Boxer, who participated in a panel discussion about military women in leadership roles.
The panel members gave advice from their years of leadership and 'growing up' in a military they said is now more accepting of women among its ranks than it once was. Many spoke to the difficulty of balancing a successful career with a family, while others gave advice with a dose of jest.
Klobuchar, the first female senator elected in Minnesota, explained that women today generally set higher expectations for themselves than in the past.
She gave an example that while playing with a friend, her young daughter said, "You can't have a baby until you run for office and win an election." While a humorous misconception, her daughter's statement also made Klobuchar proud-she said her daughter saw her success as the norm.
Navy Rear Adm. Janice Hamby quipped that when dealing with men, the communication breakdown is in their hearing.
"Men hear at a lower frequency than women ... speaking low and slowly is the key," Hamby joked.
Boxer spoke of losing her first election in 1972 after her competitor advised her to drop out because she was a woman.
"I will always remember that first election, because people doubted my abilities simply because of my gender," Boxer said. "That made me want to work that much harder to prove them wrong."
She said that many of the successful women in the military have had to fight at one point for where they are today, but that struggle makes a person stronger and tougher, and spurs them to help the next generation.
A hot topic regarding women in the military is women's roles on the front lines in a warzone. Davis said every three years Congress addresses the issue of women in combat, and they are scheduled to later this year.