By MG Genaro DellaroccoMarch 8, 2013
In 1987, Congress officially announced March as the month in which America would celebrate Women's History, and each year the President issues a proclamation in observance of this event. This month, America marks the 100-year anniversary of the Women's Suffrage Parade, which played a pivotal role in garnering publicity for and advancing the women's suffrage movement.
This year's National Women's History Month theme is Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Clearly, this theme was made for the incredible work we do here at APG. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are the cornerstones of what we do. In honor of women's accomplishments, APG will host its annual Women's History Month training program Mar. 13.
Women have moved from merely playing a subordinate role in our nation's society to holding key positions in the military, educational and political arenas. One of those trailblazers will serve as this year's guest speaker. A Soldier for 34 years and strong advocate for the inclusion of more women in STEM careers, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Belinda Pinckney is an accomplished role model and has served as inspiration to many Department of Defense women. She is noted for being the first woman in the history of the Army Finance Corps to be promoted to a general officer, and the first person ever to be nominated from the comptroller field. We are honored to have her as our keynote speaker during the program.
Over the years, women have had many firsts. As early as 1848, they began to voice their discontent as equals. Women began to press for the right to vote, own property, and choose their own careers. The National Woman Suffrage Association was formed in 1869 as a means of working toward achieving the right to vote for women. The efforts of the NWSA finally produced results and, in 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed giving women the right to vote.
But women didn't stop there. They continued to advocate for an end to the disparities in men and women's pay and, in 1963, the Equal Pay Act was passed making it illegal for employers to pay women less than a man for doing the same job. Last year the Department of Defense lifted gender restrictions across thousands of military positions and opened them to women. As early as 2016, women will be able to work in previously-closed military positions in combat alongside their male counterparts.
America's history is full of the stories of courageous women who've played an essential role in helping to gain equality and full citizenship rights for women. Ask the women in your life; you'll find that your mothers and grandmothers remember what it felt like to be second-class citizens to the men in their lives.
The Department of the Army and Team APG are committed to increasing women's participation in these critical fields as well as expanding STEM education and career opportunities. Stem careers offer women dynamic career growth opportunities and a chance to be a part of emerging technological advancements and innovations. More emphasis is needed, however, in recruiting, retaining and developing women for technical leadership roles and this continues to be a vital component to building a workforce that better reflects the demographics of this country.
I'm happy to say that this year's observance will pay honor to the generations of women throughout American history who have used their intelligence, imagination, sense of wonder, and tenacity to make extraordinary contributions to STEM fields.
Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend this year's Women's History Month celebration. Come out and help us pay tribute to their courageous journey as we celebrate the achievements of American women, both past and present. I am sure you will leave with a better appreciation of and respect for the contributions women have made in our society, and the important roles they played in American history.
Aberdeen Proving Ground's Federal Women's Program, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, will be hosting this year's Women's History Month observance on Mar. 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Mallete Training Center Auditorium, Building 6008.