Below is a message from the Commanding General of US Army Cadet Command, Major General John R. Evans in recognition of the upcoming anniversary of an important US milestone, the 19th Admendment that allowed women the right to vote:
On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was certified by the Secretary of State, granting women the right to vote. This historic piece of legislation was made possible due, in large part, to the service of women in every …major war since World War I. Each year since 1971, our Nation celebrates Women’s Equality Day to commemorate this turning point for gender equality in America.
Since our country’s founding, there have been examples of women faithfully serving in the military in both unofficial and official roles. During the Revolutionary, Civil and Mexican Wars, a small number of women were involved in combat, but most had to disguise themselves as men and enlist under aliases. Margaret Corbin stood at a cannon beside her husband, handling ammunition during the Revolutionary War; and Anita Newcomb McGee trained volunteer nurses to serve after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898. They are just two of the thousands of women who sought opportunity to serve alongside their male counterparts, without regard to their gender.
In more recent years, the fight for gender equality has led to significant changes for women serving in the military. The early 1990s saw the lifting of the ban on women flying in combat and serving on combat ships, and a Defense Department policy change opened all military occupations and positions to women in January 2016. As the weapons and methods of warfare change, Army leaders have begun to realize that, on the battlefield, gender matters much less than an individual’s capabilities and demonstrated competence.
I am proud to serve in an Army where anyone who can meet operationally relevant standards has the opportunity to serve in any position – regardless of gender. I encourage you to attend this year’s observance to honor all women, in and out of uniform, and to recognize their continuing efforts toward full equality. When we share the load equally, we are stronger …and together we are Army Strong!