The month of March is here! That means spring is around the corner. But this month isn’t just about looking forward to sunnier days ahead. It’s also about reflecting on and celebrating the vital role of women in America’s history as part of Women’s History Month.
Curious how this month’s focus came to be? Click here to read more about its history and the theme for this year’s Women’s History Month. Because our history as women is our strength, here at WILCO SUPPLY, we’re choosing to kick off our observation of the month with none other than an appreciation for six (of many) military women who’ve shattered glass ceilings.
- Shaye Haver, Kristen Griest, and Lisa Jaster
The Army opened Ranger School up to women on a trial basis back in 2015. And it’s no surprise there were plenty of people who doubted women would ever graduate from the school. But guess what? Kristen Griest, Shaye Haver, and Lisa Jaster proved those naysayers wrong. They grinded their way through the intense, legendary training, illustrating they not only wanted the job but they were made for it.
Haver and Griest went on to become infantry officers, but it was a far from easy journey forward for them. They continued to trudge through obstacles as the defense secretary at the time of their successful completion of the training had not yet lifted the ban on women serving in direct-combat units. So, it took a full year-and-a-half before the two completed their necessary training and began reporting to the 82nd Airborne and 1st Cavalry divisions. They’ve since taken command of infantry and armor companies.
- General Dunwoody, Army
For a woman who didn’t originally plan for a career in the Army (one of her childhood aspirations was to become a coach because she loved to play sports!), Gen. Dunwoody sure left her own impactful mark in the service. In November 2008, as a fourth-generation Army servicemember, she became the very first woman in our country’s history to earn the rank of four-star general. After 38 years of service, Gen. Dunwoody retired in 2012. At her retirement ceremony, she shared:
“Over the last 38 years, I have had the opportunity to witness women soldiers jump out of airplanes, hike 10 miles, lead men and women, even under the toughest circumstances. [...] And today, women are in combat, that is just a reality. Thousands of women have been decorated for valor and 146 have given their lives. Today, what was once a band of brothers has truly become a band of brothers and sisters.”
- Brigadier General Lorna Mahlock
Mahlock, a native of Jamaica who commissioned into the Marines in 1991 after immigrating to Brooklyn, New York, received national media attention back in April 2018. Why? Because she was the first African-American woman nominated and confirmed for the promotion to brigadier general in the Marine Corps. Today, while the Marine Corps has been slow to move toward gender integration, Mahlock continues to make an impressive impact while serving as the director of Information, Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and the Deputy Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer of the Marine Corps.
- Grace Hopper
Have a good idea? Grace Hopper says it best. Go ahead and do it.
“If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It's much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.”
And Hopper knew a thing or two about good ideas. As an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral, her work with computers not only gained national attention, but she was recognized internationally. In 1973, Hopper was named a distinguished fellow of the British Computer Society, then the first and only woman to hold the title.
- Eileen Collins
As a woman who broke barriers in STEM, Eileen Collins sure inspires her fellow women to achieve their ultimate dreams. She learned to fly when she was a teenager, and she went on to teach math at the Air Force Academy and serve as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base. Then, in 1990, she was selected by none other than NASA, leading her to become an astronaut in 1991.
She served on four space missions, and became the first woman to pilot a spacecraft and command a space flight. Collins, a definite trailblazer, shared:
“I want to do well because I know that I”m representing other women, other pilots, military pilots as well as civilian pilots who are hoping to come here to NASA and be pilots themselves for the space shuttle.”
- Dorothy C. Stratton
Last, but certainly not least, we bring you Dorothy C. Stratton. She served on the selection board for the Women’s Army Corps V Corps Area. Stratton then went on to join Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and commissioned as a lieutenant. In 1942, she served in the office of the Commandant of the Coast Guard to organize the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, transferring from the Navy to the Coast Guard. Eventually, Stratton was appointed its first director with a rank of lieutenant commander. She continued serving until 1946, rising to the rank of captain where she oversaw over 10,000 enlisted women and 1,000 commissioned officers.
Here are some ways you can celebrate Women’s History Month:
- International Women’s Day — March 8 events recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. Check out the 2021 International Women’s Day lineup of virtual events in support of women’s equality.
- Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote — This beautifully curated online exhibit from the Library of Congress presents the history of the women’s suffrage movement.
- Because of Her Story — The Smithsonian features the stories behind some of the greatest women contributors to U.S. history, from performing arts and social activism to from sports and government. Read inspiring stories of women who have shaped our nation’s story.
- Women’s History Month Events & Exhibits — The National Women’s History Museum has several upcoming Women’s History Month events. Check out their online exhibits to learn about fascinating women in articles such as “The Women of NASA” and “Breaking in: Women in STEM.”
We also want to honor the women founders behind the brands we carry here at WILCO SUPPLY!
Sword & Plough
Emily Núñez Cavness and Betsy Núñez. Emily is the Co-Founder and Chairwoman of Sword & Plough and a former U.S. Army Captain. During her military service, Emily graduated from Airborne School, served in 10th Special Forces Group, deployed to Afghanistan, and was one of the first 100 women to try out for the U.S. Army’s Ranger Training Assessment Course. She is a White House Champion of Change and Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow. Betsy manages Sword & Plough’s sourcing, production and key relationships with our five veteran-owned American manufacturers. Betsy is a Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow and a Bold Academy Fellow. Passionate and dedicated to driving positive social change, Betsy's goal is to ensure brands, individuals and noteworthy products are given a well-deserved and amplified voice.
Former West Point Graduates and U.S. Army Officers, Ashley and Paige have numerous achievements as entrepreneurs and designers. They were selected to be members of The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for their creativity and design aesthetic. Paige was selected as Forbes' 30 Under 30 in the Art and Fashion category while Ashley was selected as an Adweek’s Rising Brand Star. The brand has been universally recognized by major fashion and entrepreneur magazines as one to watch.