Greene County News
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Women’s Equality Day, set for Aug. 26, is the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, marking the women’s suffrage movement’s greatest victory — women achieving full voting rights.
To recognize the occasion, there will be a speaking forum with lunch Friday, Aug. 26 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Col. Elena Oberg, 88th Air Base Wing vice commander; Rebecca Westlake, 88 ABW vice director; Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Arnold, 88 ABW command chief; and Chief Master Sgt. Michelle Jackson, National Air and Space Intelligence Center command chief, will be speak on the importance of equality in the workplace, obstacles they have faced, how they have overcome them and what can be done for women to continue building on women’s right to vote, in the Air Force and in general.
“The discussion will include challenges facing women today and in the past while providing insight on how they overcame adversity and were successful over the years,” 2nd Lt. Jacob Johnson, Women’s Equality Committee lead said. “This will be followed by an open forum for audience members to ask questions to the speakers.”
Suffrage, also known as political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections. Women did not have the right to vote and were unable to influence legislation reform. In 1869, under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony and other women’s rights pioneers, suffragists circulated petitions and lobbied Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment to empower women.
In the 1910s, women activists, led by Alice Paul, picketed at the White House and Congress. She and her colleagues were arrested and imprisoned.
The 19th Amendment was finally proposed to Congress in 1919. With 36 of 48 states needed for ratification, the final vote came down to Tennessee Representative Harry T. Burn. Originally voting “nay,” he received a letter from his mother urging him to vote in favor of the amendment. As a result of Burn’s vote, the 19th Amendment was ratified into law in 1920.
Aug. 26 was designated by a joint resolution of Congress in 1971 as Women’s Equality Day. This amendment was instrumental in promoting equality for women.