By Kendra Williams, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 02, 2018
Team Offutt is recognizing Women’s History month during March with the theme, ‘Women in History.’
“Women's History Month is an opportunity for everyone to appreciate the advances society has made in equal opportunity,” said Col. (Dr.) Samia Ochia, 55th Medical Group chief of medical staff. “While we, as a society, still have challenges and barriers to breakthrough, we can certainly acknowledge that a person's actions and qualifications are more important than their gender.”
On March 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., a panel of women leaders from the community offering their perspectives on and celebrating the contributions of women will take place at the Patriot Club.
“Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,’” said Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders. “In regards to Women’s History Month, I would add that participation in changes and policies are what make America such a great place and allow all to have a voice.”
One leader in women’s history was Jeannette Rankin who in 1917, became the first woman elected to Congress from the state of Montana. Rankin was elected four years before the 19th Amendment gave women nationwide the right to vote. In 1914, her home state of Montana passed a law granting suffrage, or the right for women in that state to vote in political elections. There were 15 states that passed such laws before the 19th Amendment was passed.
In 1918 the House voted in a constitutional amendment for women suffrage. Even though that resolution failed, Rankin later said that she was ‘the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote.’ The 19th Amendment was adopted on Aug. 18, 1920. It prohibits the Federal and State Governments from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex.
“Women are 51 percent of the population, we need to be 51 percent of the policy and law making process to bring our voice, talent and concerns to the democratic process we have in place in our great country,” Sanders said.
The Under Secretary of Defense sent a memo out Feb. 22 stating, “Women remain integral to our national defense and military operations—promoting troop readiness; providing humanitarian relief; helping to deter war, resolve conflict, and promote peace; and supporting civil authorities and missions around the world.”
The memo went on to say that, “both in uniform and through the civilian sector, American mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives have selflessly served to defend and protect the land of the free and home of the brave. Even in grim situations and under austere conditions, these women have persevered—standing tall and strong as defenders of freedom, liberty, and justice.”
“I am proud of the women in our military, they make up approximately 16% of the active-duty military force,” Sanders said. “Serving in our military is one of the greatest gifts you can give our country.”
When asked about the most influential person for herself, Ochia stated.
“Dr. Antonia Novello should be a major influence to anyone in the medical career field. Not only was she the first woman but also the first person from Hispanic origin to be the Surgeon General of the U.S.”
“Dr. Novello overcame many obstacles to obtain her goal and everyone should marvel at her accomplishments,” she added.
Col. (Dr.) Ochia did have this advice to offer future generations of women.