Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Destini Hamilton
  • 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron

For many years, women have fought to have the same rights as their male counterparts. The 19th amendment, signed in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson, allowed millions of women to move closer to equality in all aspects, to include voting rights, educational opportunities, and fairer wages.
Since then, women have made an abundance of contributions to society. Honorable women such as Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female candidate of the Supreme Court, and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, began to pave the way for their successors.
It is because of women suffragist groups that I have been graced with the opportunity to be in a leadership position and lead Airmen, both male and female. The U.S. Air Force often expresses that its most valuable asset is its people, and that includes all genders. Because of these women, I am able to serve in the greatest military in the world.
For years, America has witnessed plenty of women’s firsts. Women are now applying and completing “male-only” training for careers such as the Navy SEALs or the Army’s Special Forces group. Women of this caliber have proven to me that there are no limits to what we can do. They inspire me to push the envelope and to step outside of my own barriers that I or society may place on me as a woman.
In 2020, the Air Force selected Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass to become the 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, the first woman in history to serve as the highest-ranking noncommissioned member of a U.S. military service. Shortly after that, America had front row seats in witnessing its first female Vice President, Kamala Harris.
Witnessing this type of history unfold before my own eyes gave me hope. Not only is Kamala Harris the first female Vice President, but she is the first African-American female Vice President. Vice President Kamala Harris along with Chief Master Sergeant Bass are both minority women in very powerful positions, and I believe this will begin to open the eyes of many women who felt they would not be able to become something due to their gender and race.
The fact that Vice President Kamala Harris was elected to serve as our Vice President only a hundred years after women received the right to vote shows the tenacious drive and capabilities that we possess. Being told “no” for thousands of years and continuing to press forward until we receive a “yes” speaks to the relentlessness and resiliency women naturally possess.
Altus’ own Chief Master Sgt. Laura Hoover spoke at a Women’s Equality Day event held at Altus Air Force Base, on Aug. 26, 2021. Her parting words to all the women in the room were, “Be bold and be brave. Be proud of who you are. Embrace who you are, and realize that is enough.”
We can all testify that women have come a long way, but we are far from being done. With endless amounts of opportunities now available, this is merely the beginning.