A diverse group of students, faculty and staff from across the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) campus gathered at the front steps of Herrmann Hall to celebrate Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26.
Marilyn Owens, an NPS Administrative Support Assistant in Academic Administration, organized the rally, as she has for the past few years to show support for the struggles that women have faced to gain equality.
“To me, Women’s Equality Day is about recognizing women’s equality as well as those who have come together to fight for our rights,” said Owens. “We’ve made some progress, and it means a lot to me today seeing our event triple in size because that means awareness. Awareness means getting more educated about the issue and that helps us in winning the vote. Winning the vote means standing up for those rights that we have.”
NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau served as keynote speaker who conveyed that the 19th Amendment, passed 99 years ago on August 26, 1920, was a sign that the United States was evolving.
“We needed that legislation in order to be able to truly mature as a country,” said Rondeau. “Voting rights for women have always been a sign of ourselves as citizens of this democracy. The opportunity to vote, and the Voting Rights Act that followed, proved this country had developed and matured to recognize the individual. In 1920, it was a furtherance of what we are as a great democracy.”
Rondeau added that giving women the right to vote paved the way to recognize women in the workplace, as well as their contributions to science, technology and serving in combat.
“We, civilians or military, can say we all matter, and that today is a great day of celebration about what women can do, about the nation, about being citizens, and about being leaders in the world,” she said, concluding her speech by signing and enacting NPS’ proclamation of support of Women’s Equality Day 2019.
“When I found out that today was Women’s Equality Day, I thought to myself, ‘This is a great thing to do and be a part of,’” said Chief Yeoman Brandy Golphin, NPS Heritage Committee Coordinator. “Women’s equality is a huge thing throughout the military and the civilian world. I’ve been in the Navy for 18 years and this is the first time ever that I’ve come to an organization that celebrates women’s equality in the way that this school does. I was really pleased to be a part of it this year.”
Golphin, Owens, and the other organizers look forward to next year’s commemoration, which will be a special milestone for Women’s Equality Day.
“I think this event has great momentum, which will encourage more people to come next year,” said Owens. “Next year will be the centennial anniversary of Women’s Equality Day and it will be great to witness a large show of solidarity and support.”
The 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was added to the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920. In 1971, Congress designated that date as Women’s Equality Day to honor women and their continuing efforts towards equality.