YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s (CFAY) Multicultural Committee (MCC) hosted a Women's Equality Day celebration Aug. 26 in CFAY’s Kasano Park.
This year’s theme for the celebration was women’s global right to vote. The event was decorated to resemble the early 1900’s with picket signs and a ballot box for visitors to vote on women’s rights.
Organizers of the event said they wanted to recognize the importance of the struggles women across the globe had to endure to earn the right to vote.
“We wanted to recognize the freedom gained through the struggle of women in history not only in the United States but around the globe,” said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Alexander Victor, CFAY MCC president. “Without that representation and fight, we would not be able to live the way we do today.”
Speakers during the event gave a brief history on the events that lead to the right for women to vote in the United States.
“Not so long ago men and women in the United States felt that the country should keep the status quo of allowing women to have the complete right of freedom but only in the confines of their home,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Tyron Ore, assigned to CFAY’s transient personnel unit. “This thinking sparked an outrage and in 1890 Francis Willard, the second president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, helped the organization become the largest women’s organization devoted to social reform.”
In addition to the events that lead to the right for women to vote in the United States, speakers highlighted the women’s suffrage movement in Japan.
“Women’s suffrage in Japan can trace its beginning back to the Meiji Restoration however widespread women’s suffrage didn’t take hold until the Taisho period,” said Linnette Stevens, assigned to CFAY’s morale welfare and recreation department. “The first movements for women’s rights in Japan were for changes in the social standings for women, primarily the call for women’s education.”
The ceremony was ended with a reading of Sojourner Truth’s speech “Ain’t I A Woman” by Operations Specialist 2nd Class Katerria Spears, assigned to CFAY’s Ikego command liaison office.
“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere,” said Spears. “Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place. And ain't I a woman?”
Visitors of the celebration said they felt it was a great way to bring attention to women’s equality.
“In 2019 we still have people who do not think women are as equal to men as they are,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Travis Mills, assigned to CFAY’s unaccompanied housing department. “In the military we have proven time and time again that women are just as capable as men and events like these help celebrate and recognize that.”
Women's Equality Day was established in 1971 as a way to commemorate the long struggle for generations of women to gain their right to vote.
For more news from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/cfay/.