Equality for all

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- August 26, a day marked by an important monument for all women in our nation.

On this day in 1920, women first gained the right to vote.

Today is the 96th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Imagine it; more than 90 years of women making societal and professional progress.

Fast forward to our time, 2016. Women can now serve in combat roles, if they so choose. This would have been unimaginable back in the early part of the 20th century.

Women are now CEOs of major corporations, police chiefs, and anything else they choose to be, which was previously considered unimaginable.

I can relate the equality situation to my own service. I would say my experience in the Air Force has most definitely been filled with equality.

I signed the same contract, received the same Airman’s coin, wear the same uniform and serve the same country as my fellow brothers-in-arms. The only difference between us is our gender. I haven’t been denied anything professionally because I am a woman.

I have actually had many people come up to me and ask me if I was treated differently because I am a woman. My response has always been and will be; no, I am treated fairly. I am doing the same job as my male counterparts; I don’t think I deserve to be treated any differently because of my gender.

As Public Affairs Airmen, we highlight the same events and are afforded the same opportunities. Women can even try out for combat camera, a field that used to be only for males.

I can reference my own shop for equality. I am the only female Airman in my shop. One female working with 11 male Airmen.

My experience has been an enjoyable one. My coworkers work well with me when we need to and even help broaden my horizons. They make me think of new ideas or angles for stories and photography methods.

They are all like my brothers. I am thousands of miles away from my own biological brother; I thought I would be so lonely without him. He was always messing with me as I was growing up, although I learned to dish it right back out to him. I thought I would lose that when I came over here. Was I ever wrong.

My male coworkers mess with me quite frequently; pulling pranks on me, giving me nicknames, (all appropriate things); just like what my brother and dad would do to me back home. Of course, I dole out my own responses for the pranks they pull. They make me feel like I am at home even though I am away from my own.

My experience has made me think of the story I can tell my own family in the future. Women in my generation have made further strides toward equality from that large one in 1920. So much progress has taken place all in the time span of a little less than a century.

Progress is still taking place in our Air Force. Air Force leadership has been fighting and is still fighting for women’s equality.