18th MEDCOM event notes challenges, successes for women

| September 5, 2014 | 0 Comments
a stamp depicting Women's Equality Day

Art courtesy USPS
A 1998 stamp honors the 19th Amendment.

Staff Sgt. Nicole Howell
18th Medical Command
(Deployment Support) Public Affairs
Aliamanu Military Reservation — The 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) hosted the U.S. Army-Pacific 2014 Women’s Equality Observance, here, Aug. 27.

This observance was a way to remind and educate the USARPAC community of the historical events responsible for women’s equality.
Women’s Equality Day is a commemoration of the day the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was created, Aug. 18, 1920, giving American women the right to vote.
For this year’s observance, Staff Sgt. William Ennis, the 18th MEDCOM (DS) Equal Opportunity leader, combined various presentations of some of the struggles women endured through the mid-to-late 1800s.
“I learned a lot of different facts about women’s equality and the sacrifices they made in order to have the right to be equal while putting this event together,” said Ennis. “Coordinating this event took a lot of research, time and commitment to ensure that we gave a quality representation of what women went through to get where they are today.”
The guest speaker for the event, Col. Claire Cuccio, 311th Signal Command Operations officer, drew upon personal experiences as a Soldier and her passion for women’s equality.
“I’m self-educated on women’s equality,” said Cuccio. “Women’s equality offers me complete independence. I’m not reliant on my father or husband for any kind of support.”
Cuccio’s speech focused on how far women have come from where they once were. They still, however, have a journey ahead of them. She also shared her experiences of gender inequality while serving in the military.
“When I was a cadet going to advance camp in 1998, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I was paired with a male cadet who said that I shouldn’t even be there,” said Cuccio. “He said women shouldn’t be in the Army and that I should just go home.”
Cuccio emphasized she did not intend for her experiences to be that of “sour grapes,” but as an example of how inequality still exists.
“We are not there, yet, but we have come a long way,” said Cuccio. “I am thankful for the women who came before us and some of the men who made the decisions that allow us to be in combat roles and fly planes.”

 

Closing out the observation, Col. Bret T. Ackermann, 18th MEDCOM (DS) commander and host of the event, asked the audience a question to inspire self-reflection.

 

“What are you doing inside of your formations to stop gender inequality?” said Ackermann. “If you do it consciously, you can stop it right now, but what are you doing unconsciously?”

 

In 1848, women such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Amelia Bloomer consciously helped lead the way during the Woman’s Suffrage Movement. Today, women are still making strides to gain equality.
Military women  have come a long way, said Cuccio.
“It wasn’t long ago that women were not equal. We’re still not equal, but we’re a lot farther than we were years ago.”

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