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Women's Equality Day

Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014

What is it?

The nation’s annual observance of Women’s Equality Day commemorates the addition of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. Instituted by U.S. Congresswoman Bella Abzug in 1971, this commemoration is a culmination of a massive civil rights movement by women and had its origin in 1848 at the worlds’ first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.

Why is this important to the Army?

America’s Army is a world-class force. The Army recruits the best talent regardless of gender or race and ensure the integration of diverse attributes, experiences and backgrounds in ways that enhance decision making and inspire high performance. Women have served in the Army since 1775, from the onset of the American Revolution to present Overseas Contingency Operations. Today, men and women train together in basic training units, and women Soldiers have served in 78.2 percent of all Army occupations and make up about 15.7 percent of the Army. Army Regulation 600-13, Army Policy for the Assignment of Female Soldiers, ensures that Army policy is consistent with Department of Defense guidance.

What has the Army done?

A tri-signed letter was signed by the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff and the Sergeant Major of the Army honoring those who fought tirelessly for women’s right to vote. This tri-signed also recognizes that women of the highest caliber have served in our Army for generations and have proven that sacrifices and selfless service are genderless.

Throughout the year, the Army will celebrate and commemorate the diversity of the Army and leverage and draw strength from the rich diversity within the ranks by recognizing the critical role played by all in strengthening the nation’s presence around the world.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?

The Army, as it transitions into the future, is reviewing the Soldier 2020 concept which is an effort to enhance force readiness and capability by identifying the best-qualified Soldiers for every job in the Army. The full realization of this effort will support the opening of previously closed positions to women. Tremendous advancements have been made in the struggle for equality for Soldiers and civilians. Notwithstanding these advancements, the Army must remain diligent in enforcing the nation’s laws which assist women and men in balancing work and family responsibilities and in eliminating barriers that prevent people from reaching their professional aspirations.


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