August 28, 2014, NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) – Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL) Multicultural Committee hosted Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority (KEY) Aug. 26 during a Women’s Equality Day celebration at Naval Station Norfolk.
This annual observance recognizes women throughout history and the contributions they have made toward full equality in the United States.
“The greatest thing we can do to ensure equality is to speak up against the various forms of bias that exist today,” said Adriene Slaughter, a U.S. Navy veteran and guest speaker for the event. “I’m thankful for all the doors that have opened that allow me to be involved.”
Slaughter currently serves as the President of the Hampton Roads Southside Chapter of KEY. The organization, which caters exclusively to women of the U.S. Armed Forces, has three primary objectives – honor our past, unite service members, and mentor future leadership.
“Our goal is simple, make a difference in our community,” said Slaughter. “By being involved, we get to know our sisters, understand their struggles, and provide help where we are needed.”
Established by Congress in 1971, Women’s Equality Day was introduced to commemorate the passing of the 19th Amendment and the anniversary of women’s suffrage. Today, Aug. 26 draws attention to the continued efforts toward equal rights.
“Today goes beyond our Women’s History Month celebrations,” said Chief Logistics Specialist Bradly Fox, CNAL Multicultural Committee. “Not only are we honoring past accomplishments, we are recognizing existing struggles and learning how to fix the issues.”
Women first entered naval service in 1908 with the establishment of the Navy Nurse Corps. The first six enlisted women were sworn into regular U.S. Navy service July 1948; four months later, the first eight female naval officers were commissioned.
Today, nearly every naval community is open to women. Female Sailors continue to excel in almost all facets of naval duties, both ashore and afloat. More than 67,000 women serve in the Navy’s active and reserve components, comprising 18 percent of the total force.
“We still have obstacles to overcome,” said Slaughter. “But we will always have women ready to stand for women’s rights.”