Soldiers Celebrate Women’s History Month

By Spc. Anna-Marie Hizer, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

TIKRIT, Iraq – Every March, we celebrate Women’s History Month – it is a time to reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history.

For centuries women have fought to gain certain rights – the right to vote, hold office, attend universities and serve in the armed forces. These rights were not always easy to obtain, but females were determined and steadfast in their battle for equal treatment.

Womens History Month program with 101st Airborne Band
TIKRIT, Iraq- Members of the 101st Airborne Division Band perform today as part of the Equal Opportunity office Women’s History Month program. The event included music, a slide presentation, interviews and a guest speaker.

A ceremony was held at the COB Speicher theater in honor of women to note the many trials and successes females have had both in civilian life and the military.

“Many of us don’t know anything but the road less traveled,” said Col. Pamela Stahl, Staff Judge Advocate, 101st Airborne Division. “Does it require sacrifice? Of course it does.”

Stahl talked about many milestones women have made throughout history, many marked in legal annals. From gaining the right to execute a family member’s estate to gaining admittance into Virginia Military Institute – a once longstanding male-only academy – she said women have proved their mettle in many male-dominated fields.

“Today, there we are on the front lines,” said one female Soldier in a presentation about women in the Army, “doing the same thing the males are doing.”

The presentation showed female troops discussing their difficulties and accomplishments during their time in the military. Not having many high-ranking females to look up to is one difficulty many military women in the presentation noted.

“It’s hard for them [when they first enter the Army],” said a female sergeant major. “[Females] don’t really have mentors.”

Colonel Pamela Stahl, Staff Judge Advocate
TIKRIT, Iraq Colonel Pamela Stahl, Staff Judge Advocate, 101st Airborne Division, speaks at the Equal Opportunity office Women’s History Month program. The event also included music, a slide presentation, interviews.

“I think it’s important that senior females have a chance to talk to everyone …” Stahl added, “not just the females.”

Another concern was feeling like they had to prove themselves to male counterparts. “It’s almost as if I had to work twice as hard [to get where I am],” said one officer.

“[A challenge is] always having to prove that you can do what the guys can do,” said a female sergeant.

Stahl added that some women, especially those with families, must face the additional challenge of juggling a career and children. She noted, however, that with determination and focus, both can be done successfully.

“Do we sometimes wonder if we’ve made the right choice for us and our families – especially when we deploy?” she said. “Of course we do … it’s difficult, it’s a challenge [but] you can.”

All of the women present agreed that while proving themselves can be an issue, many of their proudest moments came from the extra hard work. Female Soldiers are proud of excelling on physical training tests and rising to ranks and jobs where the estrogen levels are not as high.

“As I go on [in my career] this will still be my greatest accomplishment,” Stahl said, speaking about her appointment as Staff Judge Advocate for the Division.

She also added that she would encourage any female thinking about entering the military to meet the challenges head-on and not to let anyone, male or female, tell them they can’t make it.

Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it’s head and makes him start hammering away on the keyboard.

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Alan is also a techie. His father was a British soldier in the 4th Indian Division in WWII, with Sikhs and Gurkhas. He was a sergeant in signals and after that, he was a printer who typeset magazines and books on his linotype machine. Those skills were passed on to Alan and his brothers, who all worked for Telecom Australia, on more advanced signals (communications). After studying electronics, communications, and computing at college, and building and repairing all kinds of electronics, Alan switched to programming and team building and management.

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