The Federal Defense Community and the Federal Women’s Program celebrated Women’s Equality Day with a virtual celebration on August 17 at the Defense Supply Center Columbus with keynote speaker Rebecca Beck, Director of Standards accounts and reports for Defense Finance and Accounting.
Beck, a longtime member of the Senior Executive Service and former deputy director of DFAS-Columbus, spoke on the day’s theme, “Women Empower Women.”
Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Penny Copp gave a keynote speech thanking everyone involved in planning this year’s celebration.
DLA Land and Sea Resolve Specialist Lisa Griffin performed the national anthem and DLA Land and Sea Acquisition Specialist Amy Rich served as the event’s emcee.
Beck’s presentation highlighted the accomplishments of several women who have made lasting contributions despite challenges and adversity due to their gender and their place in a male-dominated society.
“They fought political, economic, social, cultural and civil inequalities to give us the right to develop our full potential and had significant impacts on the world as we know it today,” she said. .
The women profiled included Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony and Madam CJ Walker, among others. Tubman was credited with freeing dozens of slaves and guiding them through the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. During the war, Tubman was a scout and spy for the Union Army. She was the first woman to lead a military expedition that freed 700 slaves. Tubman later became an outspoken campaigner for women’s suffrage. Anthony, was a prominent figure in the women’s suffrage movement and Madame Walker started a beauty products business for African American women, becoming the first self-made millionaire and paving the way for others to pursue entrepreneurship.
Beck pointed out that women have also been responsible for several firsts in addition to lifetime achievements.
“These are women who have broken down barriers, who have broken the proverbial glass and who have paved the way for us.”
Women such as:
The famous physicist and scientist Marie Curie, the first woman to win two Nobel Peace Prizes in two different scientific disciplines: one jointly with two others for physics and the other alone for chemistry in the early 1900s;
Amelia Earhart, became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932;
Althea Gibson, in 1956, became the first African-American woman to win the French Open;
Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s first female Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990;
Sandra Day O’Connor was named the first female justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1981;
Madeleine Albright was named the first female Secretary of State in 1997; and
Kamala Harris, the first woman elected vice president of the United States
Other trailblazing women mentioned include Maya Angelou for her role in uplifting women’s voices in poetry; Dolores Huerta who helped found United Farmworkers of America and raised the bar advocating for farmworker rights; Rosa Parks who challenged racial segregation by not giving up her seat on a bus to a white person; Julia Child who became TV’s first celebrity chef and Mother Teresa for her humanitarian efforts in Calcutta.
All of these women shared a common bond, they stood up and told their stories to allow other women to carry the torch and line up behind them.
“This is an impressive list of women and it only scratches the surface of what women can do to accomplish with the right attitude, drive and network,” she said.
Beck challenged the virtual audience to empower the women in their lives.
“A strong community of women is empowered because together we are stronger,” she said.
“You don’t have to be on the top women’s list to be a leader and empower other women. But you have to make it a dedicated and conscious effort,” she added.
She said it’s important for all women to tell their story, especially if they are successful career women.
“You have to understand that people look up to you and look up to you, hold you in high regard, and sometimes you feel like you’re unapproachable, like you were born successful. Of course, you weren’t. You have worked hard to get where you are today. So tell your story, with its ups and downs, talk about your wins but share your losses and share your mistakes,” she said. “When they see that the road you’ve been on is a lot like the road they’re on, they’ll start to believe they have the power to set goals and achieve their goals.”
Beck said everyone has a responsibility to stand up for women and report injustice when they see it.
“When you see discrimination or an unequal playing field, call them out,” she said. “Sometimes a redesign is needed and sometimes someone has to open their eyes before they can see the unconscious biases they are creating.”
She concluded her remarks with a bit of advice to the virtual audience on sharing opportunities and building their network.
“We need to work together to promote each other,” she said. “Encourage other women to raise their hands for new opportunities, apply for promotions, seek training, seek mentors and take on new challenges. Give them a boost when it’s time to step out from the nest.
Beck herself is an example of empowering and empowering others. She grew up in Whitehall, on the outskirts of Defense Supply Center Columbus, attended Whitehall Yearling High School and Ohio State University.
Beck said a friend referred her to her first position with DLA as a GS-4 Accounting Technician in the then DLA Financial Center, which later became DFAS. Since then, she has had many opportunities to seek out mentors who have helped her get to where she is today by examining her potential and sharing opportunities that they believe would be a perfect fit for her.
“I didn’t raise my hand,” she said. “I was the one where someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we got this opportunity, and we think you’re the right person for the job. You have to take this into account.
Beck said another key to empowerment is having a strong network.
“There is strength in numbers, especially emotional strength,” she said. “The more we work together and support each other, the more we will be heard. Your age, your role, your experience, none of that matters, we have to support each other.
Natasha Porter, Chief of the Land and Sea Research Review and Analysis Division, offered advice on the difference between coaching, mentoring and sponsorship in her closing remarks.
According to the National Constitution Center, Women’s Equality Day is officially observed each year on August 26 to mark the day the 19th Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote was certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. in 1920.
The process of ratification of the amendment by the required 36 states took more than a year. By mid-1920, 35 states had voted to ratify the amendment, four had refused to even consider the resolution, and the rest had rejected the amendment in its entirety, with the exception of Tennessee. On August 18, Tennessee Legislator Harry T. Burn voted to ensure ratification of the 19th Amendment.
In 1971, Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) championed a bill in the U.S. Congress to designate August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” This bill was passed in 1973.
|Date posted:||26.08.2022 17:28|
|Location:||COLUMBUS, OH, USA|
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