Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Women Graduates in Army Ranger School History

The United States Army’s esteemed Ranger School will confer Ranger patches to 1st Lt. Kristen Griest and Capt. Shaye Haver, the first two women to successfully complete the elite and rigorous program in its history. Both lieutenants are also alumni of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The Army Ranger School was originally founded in 1950 and is known to be one of the most physically and psychologically demanding regimens that any soldier could be tasked with. The two month program is set in two different locales, the first in Fort Benning, Georgia, and the second in the swamplands of Florida. It is in these two locations that the Ranger hopefuls build upon their combat and leadership skills while navigating through intense sleep and food deprivation.  Completion is an admirable feat and the Army reports that only about 40% of male participants are able to graduate rendering the two lieutenants success even more remarkable. Though over 60 years old, it was not until January of this year that the Army designed an experimental project to introduce women into the Ranger School.
Though their graduation is capturing headlines and is being praised by many, it is important to keep in mind that while Lt. Griest and Capt. Haver will have the Army Ranger distinction bestowed upon them, they still face certain obstacles based solely on their gender. The two women cannot take advantage of a myriad of military opportunities that are open to their fellow male graduates. Some of these programs include participating in the Army’s Ranger Regiment or service in infantry and front-line combat. While former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted the combat ban on women officially in 2012 and the United States Navy lifted their ban on women joining the Navy SEALs, women who choose to serve and demonstrate excellence in their commitment to such service are still denied access to some of the military’s most elite programs.
It is important that the United States military design the programs of each respective branch to be as meritocratic as possible and to afford servicewomen opportunities to advance in their military career by virtue of their competency and talent. Women like Lt. Griest and Capt. Haver are some of the best soldiers our military has to offer and should not be inhibited in ways that their counterparts aren’t simply because of their gender, when they have already proven their capabilities. It is equally important to realize that while women can be some of the military’s greatest assets, women also face unique challenges during their service with inadequate protections in place. Such problems that have grown virtually systemic in military culture include sexual assault in which servicewomen are victim to the most with not enough having been done in terms of preventative measures as well as in terms of treatment (lack of treatment contributes greatly to alarmingly high suicide rates amongst women veterans.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

95th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote!

95 years ago today, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. Prior to the ratification, states were granted the capacity to determine what metrics qualified citizens eligible to vote and most states used such allowance to disenfranchise women and deny their suffrage. Amendment XIX nullified the ruling of the Supreme Court case Minor v. Happersett which had stated that the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply to a woman’s right to vote.

Congressionally approved and submitted for ratification in 1919, the amendment acted as the aggregate of the efforts of the women’s suffrage movement, a movement that would later be known as the first wave of the women’s movement. 

As a groundbreaking victory lauded in history, the Nineteenth Amendment would be the first step in a long process of fully integrating women into the American political landscape. Finally, women were given a voice.

While it is incredible to note how far we’ve come and see that in less than a century we are able to witness female political efficacy evolve from complete disenfranchisement to women today holding some of the most important political offices (both elected and appointed) we have yet to reach the pinnacle of what would be true equality -- a political parity that correlates with the gender demography of our country. America is often viewed as a champion of progress and modernity yet we lag behind industrialized, Western counterparts in our failure to have successfully elected a female head of state and the pitiable minority of women in Congress.

We must continue to promote and empower women on every level politically; to forge ahead in carving out a place for women in the political arena, and to render women’s issues as an important and critical topic that cannot be ignored by government. In doing so, we can most appropriately celebrate this anniversary.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Notorious RBG

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
This week marks the 22nd anniversary of the swearing in of national treasure and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg!  This extraordinary person is #1 in our hearts, and in the history books.  A trailblazer for women in the law profession, Ginsburg was the first female member of the Harvard Law Review, before transferring to Columbia School of Law, where she graduated first in her class.  Also at Columbia, she was the first female tenured professor. Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and confirmed by the Senate 96-3.  She is the second woman to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court and the first Jewish woman. 
Women and men have Justice Ginsburg to thank for much of the country’s social progress in the last twenty years, including, but not limited to same-sex marriage, universal healthcare, and widowers’ equal access to social security benefits.
Older generations know of Justice Ginsburg’s longstanding dedication to women’s rights and gender equality, but in recent years, she has taken on a celebrity status in pop culture as a feminist icon, inspiring a clothing line, and tumblr.

This country is forever indebted to RBG for the infinite good her legal mind has inspired. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Women2Women America International Program

Last night, the MWPC co-sponsored the 10th annual Women2Women event. This organization works towards building a network of talented young women from around the globe. The women are engaged in issues that pertain to their lives and are given the tools and opportunities required to lead. Over a 10-day period, about 100 emerging female leaders will participate in an educational training program designed to provide the girls with leadership skills. This year, the event occurred from July 29 to August 8 in Boston.
W2W was specifically created to provide young female leaders with the skills needed to succeed around the globe. The females in W2W are challenged to develop and implement a cooperative civic engagement plan in their communities.
The five goals of the program include: building bridges of mutual understanding, respect, and trust; strengthening leadership skills; engaging young women in the issues that define their lives; demonstrating the importance of civic engagement and volunteerism; and establishing a powerful network.
At the Women2Women America International Leadership Program last evening, there were about 120 young girls representing 26 different countries. The MWPC is very proud of this organization and everything they accomplish. We support their work and the continuation of their success. 
To learn more: 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#Behind the Hashtag

#Behind the Hashtag

This week, I noticed my phone buzzing a bit more than usual.  No, my friends were not calling or texting exorbitantly.  (No really, I have friends!) I get notifications when a hashtag is “trending” among the organizations and people I follow on Twitter, and this week was particularly busy. 
Here’s what was trending:
This hashtag was started by @reproaction in response to the most recent anti-choice stunt against Planned Parenthood.  Read more about what they have to say here!
It turns out Friendship Day started in Paraguay!  The UN General Assembly officially recognized July 30th as “International Day of Friendship” in 2011.  Who knew?!
Sam Dubose was an unarmed black man unjustly killed by a white police officer.  Disturbing video footage from a body camera helped indict former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing, which is a step forward, but we still have a long way to go
The “Movement For Black Lives” held a national convention in Cincinnati, Ohio on Jul 24th-26th!  Check out the website here.