Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) celebrated Women’s Equality day on the ship’s mess decks Aug. 26, 2018.
The event served as a celebration of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The celebration was organized by the ship’s Diversity Committee and began with a presentation kicked off by Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Samuel Norgaisse, which outlined the movement leading up to women’s rights to vote and prominent women who served in the military.
“When the diversity committee held a meeting about a month ago, we realized the next upcoming event was Women’s Equality day,” said Norgaisse at the beginning of the presentation. “We wanted to ensure the day received the attention it deserves, as we all have women in our lives to be thankful for, mine being my mother.”
After the presentation was finished, Command Master Chief Paulette Brock spoke briefly on the 33 years she spent in the Navy and how she had overcome equality along the way.
“When I first told my family I wanted to join the military, they didn’t really support me, they said it was a man’s military,” said Brock. “At the time, nobody thought a female should be a boatswain’s mate; they thought females should stick to desk jobs and administrative work. I soon came to realize that in the military, if you do your job and what is assigned to you, nothing, not even gender, can hold you back.”
Brock’s speech was then followed with words on the importance of the day by Cmdr. Casey Baker, commanding officer of Farragut.
“Women’s Equality Day is not only a reminder of the importance of equality for women, but a testament to everything they have endured to get to this point,” said Baker. “As this day ends, we must always hold in the back of our minds, the efforts our female shipmates give as they balance being mothers, wives and friends while also being extraordinary Sailors.”
As the event ended with a cake-cutting ceremony and a documentary viewing detailing the movement leading to the passage of the amendment, Sailors continued to discuss the importance of the day among themselves and how society continues to progress forward.
“I think there’s more of a push from the younger generation to think more about what we have done in the past regarding gender equality,” said Lt. Chelsea Smith, Farragut antiterrorism officer. “However, a couple of years ago, you would have never really heard people talk about Women’s Suffrage Day or other days based on equality, it was just a day. Now, people are bringing positivity and light to the whole progress and the movement, versus a negative feeling.”
According to Yeoman 2nd Class Ashley Hylton, society could greatly benefit from embracing equality among genders.
“If society began rapidly embracing gender equality, it would allow women the leeway to explore and become pioneers like men have been,” said Hylton. “Also, it would allow for the stories of women to be told, which is sometimes all it takes for other women to become motivated and as innovative as men. Everyone in society benefits from having that ability.”
Farragut, homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.