OBSERVANCE OF WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY

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NAVADMIN 209/13

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SUBJ/OBSERVANCE OF WOMEN'S EQUALITY DAY 2013// 

RMKS/1.  This NAVADMIN announces the observance of Women's Equality Day on 26 
August, 2013.  This day commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment 
to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.



2.  Women's Equality Day commemorates the long struggle of generations of 
women to gain the right to vote.  The movement for women's rights was 
launched on a national level in 1848 with a convention in Seneca Falls, New 
York.  Before narrowing their political focus to women's rights, 
abolitionists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, known as 
"suffragists," along with Susan B. Anthony and other activists, formed 
organizations that raised public awareness and lobbied the government to 
grant voting rights to women.  Fighting for the right to vote became a 
centerpiece of the women's rights movement.  It was not until 72 years after 
the suffrage movement began that these groups emerged victorious with the 
ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution on 
August 18, 1920.  On Election Day that same year, more than 8 million women 
across the United States voted for the first time.  In 1971, to honor and 
commemorate this historic event, Congresswoman Bella Abzug (D-NY) introduced, 
and Congress signed, a resolution to designate August 26 as Women's Equality 
Day recognizing the anniversary of suffrage and of women's continued efforts 
toward equal rights.

3.  Women have been serving in the military unofficially since the American 
Revolutionary War.  Their official role in the Navy began in 1908, with the 
establishment of Navy Nurse Corps.  During World War I, the Naval Reserve Act 
of 1916 authorized the enlistment of women, designated as "Yeoman(F)," 
unofficially known as "Yeomanettes."  Navy Nurses and Yeomanettes served 
their nation before being granted the right to vote.  After World War I, 
Nurses remained the only women in the Navy until 1942 when the service 
launched the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or "WAVES" 
program.  The Women's Armed Services Integration Act, signed in 1948, 
provided women permanent status in the United States Armed Services.  
Opportunities for women increased significantly during the 1970s.  While 
serving as the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Zumwalt issued a series of 
mandates for change known as "Z-Grams."  In 1972, Z-Gram 116 expanded the 
role of women in the Navy.  In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of 
equal benefits for the dependents of military women, as well as abolishing 
pregnancy as a reason for mandatory separation.  It was this same year that 
the Navy authorized aviation training for women.  In 1975, Congress 
authorized admission of women to the military academies.  In 1978, the Navy 
started its "Women in Ships" program, assigning women to supply and non-
combatant ships.  Women's opportunities were later broadened in 1993 to 
include service on combatant ships and in combat aviation, following the 
repeal of the Combat Exclusion Law, and again in 2011, when the first group 
of women reported onboard submarines.  Most recently, the Secretary of 
Defense announced, and the Services are implementing, the rescission of the 
Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule by which Navy fully 
envisions there will be no closed occupations, very limited number of closed 
positions, and equal professional opportunity for females in every officer 
designator and enlisted rating in the Navy by January 2016.  

4.  Today, over 67,000 women serve in the Navy in the active and reserve 
components, comprising 18 percent of the total force.  There are currently 38 
female flag officers, two female fleet master chiefs, and one female force 
master chief in the Navy.  Additionally, nearly
50,000 women serve across the Navy in a wide range of specialties as civilian 
employees, with 67 female senior executive service members. 
These talented female officers, Sailors, and civilians are a key component of 
our total force, and they are an invaluable asset to the strength of our 
Navy.

5.  All commands are strongly encouraged to increase their knowledge and 
awareness of Women's Equality Day through programs, exhibits, publications, 
and participation in military and community events.  More information on the 
roles of women in the Navy can be found on the Office of Women's Policy 
webpage at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-
npc/organization/bupers/WomensPolicy/Pages/WomensEqualityDay.aspx and from 
the Naval History and Heritage Command page at http://www.history.
navy.mil/SPECIAL%20HIGHLIGHTS/WOMEN/WOMEN-INDEX.HTM.

6.  More information about women's diversity conferences, events and 
observances is available on the Office of Women's Policy N134W webpage at 
http://www.public.navy.mil/BUPERS-NPC/ORGANIZATION/BUPERS/WOMENSPOLICY/
Pages/default.aspx.

7.  Point of contact is OSC Jessica Myers, N134W, at (703) 604-5482/DSN
664 or via e-mail at jessica.myers(at)navy.mil.

8.  Released by Vice Admiral W. F. Moran, N1.//
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