5th Recruiting Brigade
August 25, 2016
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- U.S. Army Recruiting Command's deputy commanding general encouraged women to dream big, forge a path through the obstacles, and achieve their full potential at the Women's Equality Day observance here Aug. 22.
Brig. Gen. Donna Martin was the guest speaker for the annual event, which commemorates the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Ratified Aug. 18, 1920, the amendment gave women the right to vote after a 70-year struggle led by the women's suffrage movement.
"Today, in the United States and the developing world, women are better off than ever," Martin said. "We stand on the shoulders of women who came before us. Women who had to fight for our rights that we now take for granted."
Martin said when suffragettes marched in the streets, they envisioned a world where men and women would be truly equal, but that a century later, we are still squinting, trying to bring that vision into focus.
"It's up to us to end the self-fulfilling belief that women can't do this, women can't do that," she said. "Throwing up our hands and saying, 'It can't be done,' ensures that it will never be done.
"I hope that each woman will set her own goals and reach for them with gusto. And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and at home, also with gusto. As we start using the talents of the entire population, our institutions will be more productive, our homes will be happier, and the children growing up in those homes will no longer be held back by narrow stereotypes."
Martin told the crowd the hard work of past generations means equality is within reach.
"We can close the leadership gap now," she said. "Each individual's success can make success a little easier for the next. We can do this for ourselves. If we push hard now, this next wave can be the last wave. In the future, there will be no female leaders, there will just be leaders."
The event was organized by 5th Recruiting Brigade and hosted by its commander, Col. Terance Huston.
Congress designated Aug. 26 as "Women's Equality Day" in 1971 in recognition of the 19th amendment and women's continuing efforts toward full equality.