Women’s Equality Day recognizes civil rights victory

(Via Ho’okele News)

Rear Adm. Rick Williams

Rear Adm. Rick Williams

Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

(Editor’s note: This week, Rear Adm. Williams gave remarks at a Women’s Equality Day event at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. An excerpt is offered here.)

Women’s Equality Day recognizes the victory by civil rights activists to earn women the right to vote in 1920.

My hometown is Pitts-ford, N.Y., minutes from Rochester, home of Susan B. Anthony, who—along with other suffragists— were champions of equal rights for all Americans.

They fought for women’s equality—most fundamentally, for the right to vote.

Sadly, Susan B. Anthony died 14 years before the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.

Here are some names of people who were born just before or in 1920:

• Admiral “Amazing” Grace Hopper
• Amelia Earhart
• Nelson Mandela
• John F. Kennedy
• Adm. Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt

Susan B. Anthony

In 1961, President Kennedy, a former naval officer, called for the entire nation to embrace women’s equality of opportunity.

Eleven years later, Adm. Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations, changed the face of the Navy by issuing Z-Gram 116, greatly expanding opportunities for women in our Navy.

In 1972, he promoted Capt. Arlene Duerk as the first female admiral.

As CNO, Zumwalt initiated a pilot program for the first women to serve aboard surface ships and authorized the first women naval aviators. Today, women serve aboard submarines.

Today’s theme is “Inspiring Change.”

I believe our Navy has inspired change—and today our Navy is a model for change that is inspiring. • Women in our Navy receive the same pay as men for the same rank and assignments.

• Women have the opportunity to achieve the highest ranks in our military.

• Last month, the Navy promoted our first four-star woman flag officer, Adm. Michelle Howard.

Women lead in and out of uniform.

Susan B. Anthony and her contemporaries inspired change and paved the way for women through their leadership, compassion and dedication.

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