Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

 

MDL community recognizes importance of women’s equality

By Airman 1st Class Jessica Blair | Joint Base MDL Public Affairs | September 11, 2017

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.- --

Members of the Joint Base MDL community came together to honor and recognize Women’s Equality Day during a ceremony at Tommy B’s Community Activity Center, Aug. 25, 2017.

On Aug. 26, 1920, women’s right to vote was confirmed with the approval of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Since 1971, the day has been set aside to recognize ongoing efforts toward complete equality.

During the event, those in attendance were able to speak with a panel of distinguished female Joint Base MDL leaders on the importance of equality and how it fits into the Defense Department mission.

“I’ve seen a dramatic difference in the workplace environment; I think that the Air Force has worked really hard to improve it,” said Kimberly J. Corcoran, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center director of staff and event panel member. “We need to continue to be vigilant more than anything else so that we don’t backslide.”

During the open forum, panel members addressed the importance of establishing and maintaining a professional approach regarding maintaining workplace equality.

 “Setting expectations and not tolerating any deviance from that behavior;” said Air Force Col. Ann “Michele” Blake, 87th Dental Squadron commander and event panel member, “If someone is jokingly saying something you just can’t walk past it and let it go because then that just becomes part of the culture of your unit.”

Throughout the discussion, the panel members spoke on their personal experiences as females in the military, touching on the adversity they have had to overcome during their careers.

“When I started out as a second lieutenant in a fighter squadron, I had one female maintainer [out] of 250 [personnel],” said Air Force Lt. Col. Katrine M. Waterman, 305th Maintenance Group deputy commander and event panel member. “Now there are a handful of female crew chiefs and females in all of my back shops, so there definitely has been an increase in the amount of opportunities and jobs that females are moving into.”

Leaders hope to educate Joint Base MDL members on upholding Air Force values of ensuring each member of the Joint Base MDL community is treated equally.

 “The purpose of this day is to educate,” said Air Force Col. Neil Richardson, 87th Air Base wing and Joint Base MDL commander.  “Because without that education we can often forget the importance of [equality].”

The event concluded with a call to action for members of the Joint Base MDL to uphold the standards of equality and to treat everyone the same, regardless of their gender.

 “We talk about equal pay and equal rights and we are getting there as a nation,” said Richardson. “Many others that have set out and blazed the trail for women today, we have a lot to thank them for. We need to find a way to help advocate, educate and communicate the need for women’s rights in the future.”