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August 26th is Women’s Equality Day

Madhu Sridhar, president of the League of Women Voters of the San Antonio area, addressed members of the Army’s 106th Signal Brigade on the history of women’s voting rights in the U.S. and about the importance of voting during the Women’s Equality Day Observance Aug. 23 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

Madhu Sridhar, president of the League of Women Voters of the San Antonio area, addressed members of the Army’s 106th Signal Brigade on the history of women’s voting rights in the U.S. and about the importance of voting during the Women’s Equality Day Observance Aug. 23 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Aug. 26 marks the anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement’s greatest victory: women achieving full voting rights following the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.

Since 1920, our nation has continued marching closer to women’s equality. Here are some of our nation’s milestones:

• In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law.

• In 1948, President Harry Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law, granting women permanent status in the regular and Reserve forces of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as the newly-created Air Force.

• In 1951, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services is created to advise on the recruitment of women into the military for the Korean War.

• In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, requiring employers to pay all employees equally for equal work, regardless of their sex.

• In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. The act results in the empowerment of racial minorities, including minority women, throughout the country.

• In 1967, President Johnson signed Public Law 90-130, giving women in the Armed Forces equal promotion and retirement benefits, while retaining combat restrictions.

• In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments banned sex discrimination in schools.

• In 1975, the Department of Defense reversed policies and provided pregnant servicewomen with the option of leaving the military or
remaining on active duty.

• In 1980, the first women graduate from the service academies as a result of Public Law 94-106, signed by President Gerald Ford.

• In 1994, 1st Lt. Jean Marie Flynn became the first female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Also that year, Congress repealed the law banning women from duty on combat ships. Women deployed with the USS Fox.

• In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act is signed into law allowing an employee to recover back pay for up to two years preceding the filing of a discrimination claim.

• In 2013, the ban on women serving in combat roles is lifted, overturning a 1994 Pentagon decision that explicitly prohibited women from serving in combat.

Here’s to women everywhere, making sure progress is forever achieved and we as a force, move forward together.