DAHLGREN, Va. –
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated each Aug. 26 in the U.S.
For more than 50 years, the day has commemorated the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibits the federal and state governments from denying the right to vote based on sex.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) held a virtual celebration Aug. 26 to recognize the first woman to achieve accomplishments in avenues from theatre to sports, music, sailing, aviation and other ventures.
Systems Engineer and Federal Women’s Special Emphasis Program Manager Angie Headley served as the narrator for the event.
NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Philip Mlynarski quoted the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in his opening remarks, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” Mlynarski echoed Justice Ginsburg’s statement when he spoke about the strong women in his life and the leading roles women take across NSWCDD operations.
The commemoration honored women such as Hattie McDaniel, who became the first African American to win an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind” in 1939.
A quote from McDaniel stating, “I’d rather make $700 a week playing a maid than earn $7 a day being a maid” was highlighted during the event.
Other famous women honored by NSWCDD for being first in their field to accomplish a feat included Janet Guthrie, who in 1977 became the first woman to qualify and compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, and sailor Laura Dekker, the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe at the age of 16.
Country music singer Loretta Lynn, pilots Amelia Earhart, Joan Merriam Smith, Betty Miller and Jacqueline Cochran, astronaut Eileen Collins, mountaineer Junko Tabei and computer programmer Grace Hopper also received homage.
NSWCDD employees from across the base provided perspective on 27 of these female world changers during the event. A quote from Earhart listed during her presentation encapsulated the event.
“Some of us have great runways already built for us,” Earhart said. “If you have one, take off. But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”