Women's History Month: Reflecting past for better future

  • Published
  • By Col. Anita Latin
  • 653rd Electronic Systems Group commander
Women's History Month provides an occasion to reflect upon our nation's history and the amazing and well-fought accomplishments of women, who have passionately defended the rights of equality to afford women the civil liberties, privileges and opportunities we have today and are continuing to pursue.

This month is not about segregating a gender to acknowledge or accentuate our differences. It is about the realization that every person, regardless of gender, has the right and the realistic opportunity to pursue the fruits of this great nation, and to acknowledge that women who sacrificed to make a difference and change the past forged these rights.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, women were considered by some to be second-class citizens whose acceptable existence was limited only to care of the home and children. They did not have many options nor the rights to own property, maintain wages, sign a contract or vote. It was considered improper for women to travel alone or to speak in public and they were often taught to refrain from acquiring higher education.

Throughout the years, women have fought for equality and have met significant and strong resentment and public animosity for going against what was socially acceptable. As women requested change and defied laws and rules, they were ostracized, ridiculed, humiliated and discriminated against for their beliefs, desires and their pursuit for equality and justice.

There are many significant women and dates in our past we must remember. Many people have sacrificed and are responsible for the changes seen today. This includes the women who instigated and created the need for change as well as those people with the moral, mental and physical courage who recognized their efforts and contributions, and who fought for what was right.

Recognizing and acknowledging this history enables us to learn from past events and enables us not to repeat the unforgivable and questionable behavior and mistakes that made change incredibly difficult.

This history allows our mothers, wives, sisters, girlfriends, daughters and granddaughters the chance to dream of and strive for accomplishments and successes, and to act upon those dreams. It provides them the moral, mental and physical courage to embrace the willingness to stand up for what they believe is right even if it is unpopular and would hurt their reputation in an environment that doesn't accept change.

This history offers motivation and facilitates an enthusiastic and optimistic attitude and commitment to achieving personal goals.

Women's History Month is a time to recognize, express gratitude and celebrate these ideals and endeavors we hold so dear. This month offers us the chance to end discrimination when we see it today. It's an opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of outstanding contributions and to renew dreams to build on the past and construct boundless futures.

We must remember the fight for equality is not to receive preferential treatment based upon gender, but to afford the same opportunities and rights among all those with the same qualities, characteristics, skills and attributes.

Both men and women are the pride of the American people and of this nation and have the possibility to represent the very best of society.

I see increased opportunities, acceptance, accomplishments and satisfaction and greater gender tolerance and compatibility as we Americans, regardless of sex, race or heritage, coalesce for the mutual benefit of our nation and the pursuit of happiness.