Celebrating Women’s History Month
By Staff Sgt. Laura R. McFarlane, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 04, 2016
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
When our forefathers wrote the preamble to the constitution, they probably didn’t give much thought to women serving as part of that government.
March is Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government,” shows how far the country has come since then.
How women have excelled in public service and government is very much a personnel opinion and differs from one person to another.
“I think the how is as different as every woman serving,” said Chief Master Sgt. Karen G. Blair, 315th Training Squadron chief enlisted manager. “The how is truly to be ourselves and find our own contribution without worrying how that will be perceived. We can't focus on if we are too aggressive or too passive; if we are demonstrating feminine qualities or living up to an artificial expectation. We are successful because we are individuals with individual strengths and we should use those.”
Both men and women have come a long way since the constitution was written.
“I do feel that women have made great strides over the years in public service, government and so many other areas but, so have men,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Michelle L. Grady, Navy Center for Information Dominance Detachment. “I think that our society as a whole should move to celebrate the great historical achievements of people every day and refrain from focusing on just one group. This kind of thinking would directly align with the Secretary of Defense's push to make us a more gender neutral military.”
Blair looks at Women’s History Month differently.
“We have clearly come a long way and increased our participation at local, state and national levels both in the United States and globally. We have a long way to go. I think it is a great step that we have finally moved to honoring these women and their role in our national development and future. No matter where the woman comes from or what her background is she has something to contribute and making the most of that contribution truly is how we form a more perfect union for the future,” said Blair.
O’Grady’s favorite public service or government woman is Admiral Grace Hopper.
“She joined the United States Navy Reserve to serve in the WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, in 1943 and became the third programmer of the world's first large-scale computer, the Mark I,” said O’Grady. “The list of her amazing accomplishments are too long to name.”
O’Grady likes Hopper’s view on not keeping things the way they are simply because it’s always been that way.
“She was a believer in change and hated when people responded ‘because that is the way we have always done it.’ I couldn't agree more with her sentiment!” said O’Grady. “To prove that things did not always have to be done a certain way, Hopper had a clock on her wall that ran counter clockwise.”
Blair doesn’t have one favorite woman.
“My favorite women in public service and government are the workers,” said Blair. “Of course, I have to admit to some favoritism to our military members. One of the greatest things about my position is that I get to see these people every day and I get some insight into their lives. I see the staff sergeant who has to make a choice between her personal desires, her career aspirations and her responsibilities as a single parent; the chief master sergeant who opts to retire in order to care for her aging parents; the lieutenant who has set a goal of public service and works towards it every day.”
According to Blair, without the family members at home, women would not be where they are today.
“Women have become more successful in public service and government, and a lot of that credit has to go to our support system,” said Blair. “Our parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends who encourage us and support us.”
She also gives credit to the work environment.
“But even more important, because it was not always the case is our bosses and co-workers. Our co-workers have stopped judging everything through the lens of she's a woman, and instead realized she's a valuable worker,” added Blair.