Women’s Equality: Know the past, appreciate the present, focus on the future

Sunday is Women’s Equality Day. It’s a day to celebrate women’s equality in specific, connected ways. Each year, on this Congress-designated day, we commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and the work of women’s suffrage advocates who helped achieve this milestone. The 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote and was a monumental step towards women’s equality in today’s workforce.

“We are proud that women are represented at every level of our organization,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D. “To me, men and women are equal. Inclusion is a big part of our strength.”

At the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), more than 11,500 out of approximately 23,500 employees are women. Women make up 49 percent of its workforce.

“I have served in VA for more than 20 years and wholeheartedly believe achieving and maintaining equality is everyone’s responsibility,” said Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits Margarita Devlin, second in charge at VBA.

Fifty-seven percent of VBA employees are Veterans, and 31 percent are women. It’s not a stretch to link the certification of the 19th Amendment with follow-on societal progress towards women’s equality that has enabled them to serve.

June 12, 1948, President Harry Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law. It granted women permanent status in the regular and reserve forces of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as the newly-created Air Force. However, the act limited the proportion of women in the military to

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