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News | Aug. 26, 2022

Troop Support honors Women’s Equality Day with visit from historic rights advocate

By Christian Deluca DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support held its annual Women’s Equality Day event August 10, with a visit from a historical figure of the women’s rights and suffrage movements.

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution August 26, 1920, which grants women the right to vote. DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Eric Shirley gave a brief history of the women’s rights movement and introduced keynote speaker Kim Hanley, a historical reenactor who portrayed activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

“As one of the founders of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, Ms. Stanton was one of the premiere voices fighting for women’s equality. Along with others like Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, Ms. Stanton wrote letters, held meetings and led marches until that 19th amendment was signed and passed, and women were able to participate in the cornerstone of our democracy, voting,” Shirley said. “Today we’re here to celebrate and honor the achievements of Ms. Stanton and I encourage you all to let her story serve as a reminder of the unique struggles that women faced throughout our history.”

Hanley, dressed in bloomers, a popular activist fashion alternative to the restricting corsets and steel underskirts of the turn of the century, spoke, as Stanton, about receiving a coral necklace for Christmas at 11 years old and coming to the realization that men held an unfair advantage in almost all facets of life.

“I showed it to a friend who happened to be a boy, he said that if we were to marry that necklace would be mine. That didn’t seem fair at all,” Hanley said. “I wasn’t certain what the marriage laws in New York state entailed, but I new they were written in the books of my father’s law library.”

Stanton devised a plan to sneak into her father’s library and to cut all the offensive passages out of his law books that pertained to women, eliminating the laws altogether, in her mind.

“My father sat me down and he said you know all those books that I have in my law library and all those laws pertaining to women in those books, they’re not confined to my law library alone and even if my library burned down those laws would still exist,” Hanley said. “Perhaps when you’re old enough you can petition the New York state assembly and the legislatures there and maybe you can get them to change some of these laws.”

Stanton took those words to heart, and as an adult, became the main force behind the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, the first convention whose sole purpose was to discuss women’s rights. During the convention, she read her Declaration of Sentiments which demanded that women had a right to vote. That statement became a central tenant of the woman’s movement.

Stanton went on to work with Susan B. Anthony, starting the Woman’s Loyal National League to campaign for the abolishment of slavery and creating a newspaper called The Revolution, which focused on women’s rights. Stanton later became president of the National Woman Suffrage Association as well as the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

“It is a long road, and we have many folks in this country with many different opinions,” she said. “But I know eventually, with the abolition of the slave, with entrance into legitimate civility and civilization and the ablility to engage in our legislative process, our country will only become better with more broadstringed, varied, diversified opinions. That is my goal for the future.”