FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
Names of those who won women’s equality are lost to history, but the results of their actions are seen daily, the president of Federally Employed Women tells Defense Logistics Agency employees in a Women’s Equality Day video.
“American women advanced because courageous people, both men and women, refused to back down, refused to allow others to turn the clock back,” Karen Rainey says.
Women gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 26, 1920, after the decades-long women’s suffrage movement. In 1917, women from across the country picketed the White House demanding their right to vote. Called Silent Sentinels, their protests were a political embarrassment to President Woodrow Wilson so they were arrested and locked in confinement. Some were beaten; others went on hunger strikes but were brutally force fed.
“It is the first and only time in the United States where over half of the U.S. population won a fundamental, democratic right without the use of any violence, although violence was used against them,” Rainey says.
The movement was a model for subsequent civil rights battles though women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth and others never received the gratitude they deserved, adds DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic.
“We should never take for granted what they fought for. We simply would not be where we are today without their vision, determination and sacrifice,” she says.
The video also stars DLA Senior Enlisted Leader Army Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka O’Neal, who believes women are still working to have their voices heard.
“Even within our agency, it has taken 60 years to have the first female director and senior enlisted leader,” she says.
View the video on DVIDS or below.