KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Aug. 27, 2012) -- The Joint Sustainment Command- Afghanistan celebrated Women's Equality Day with two independent events on Friday and Saturday here on Kandahar Airfield.
On Friday, Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, commander of the JSC-A headquartered by the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), was the guest speaker at the Women's Equality Day Observance hosted by the Regional Command-South Equal Opportunity Office."Gen. French was chosen to speak because she is the senior female general officer in the Combined Joint Operations Area -- Afghanistan and the commander of the JSC-A," said Master Sgt. Adam Eckstein, the command equal opportunity advisor for JSC-A. "So, I thought it would be the perfect caveat for the observance."In her speech, French highlighted three main points: Take pride in the fact that there are opportunities for women to lead and serve in today's military, women have a critical role in the military -- and their sacrifices underscore their dedication and willingness to serve and lastly, women serving in today's military have proven that the extent of their patriotism and bravery knows no rival."When a woman wants to serve in our Army -- they enter knowing there are no glass ceilings, there are no caveats, and there are no limits," said French. "There are only opportunities."French went on to point out the accomplishments of Gen. (R) Ann Dunwoody as an example of how far women have come in the military and noted that there are no limits to the heights women can reach in the armed forces.At the conclusion of French's speech, members of the JSC-A did a rendition of the reading, "Failure is Impossible" by Rosemary H. Knower. The reading is based on the women's suffrage movement that began in 1848 and concluded in 1920 with Congress passing the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. The rendition was narrated by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jean Ritter, the multiclass senior supply systems technician for JSC-A.On Saturday, the JSC-A hosted a Women's Equality Day Observance 5k Run/Walk in which approximately 500 people participated. The event opened with a welcome speech from French, a prayer delivered by the JSC-A family life chaplain and a safety briefing given by the JSC-A command surgeon. The race concluded with the top three male and female finishers receiving plaques from French and Command Sgt. Maj. Karl A. Roberts, the senior enlisted adviser for the JSC-A.At the end of the events Eckstein said, "Women still have the same jobs and are just as capable as a man, still a double standard that exists. Until we overcome that barrier, we need to keep emphasizing events such as Women's Equality Day to show that there are still disparities between men and women."