MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
Chief Petty Officer Jean Molina, the senior enlisted leader of the Branch Health Clinic at MCAS Yuma, hosted a Women’s Symposium sponsored by BHC Yuma at the station community center, Thursday. The symposium was held in observance of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute’s August topic of women's equality.
Each year, Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26, and celebrates a woman’s right to vote. The celebration was authorized through a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1971 and a Presidential Proclamation.
Molina and fellow BHC staff members planned this event for women to come together and empower one another.
“It’s not just about wearing a uniform, it’s about being women, mothers, daughters, friends, and all the roles we hold,” said Molina, a native of Brownsville, Texas. “I think sometimes people forget about that, and how much we do.”
Molina feels there are women who want to break down gender barriers and fill billets and jobs not typically ascribed to women. In doing so, she hopes they will show all service members are equal.
Molina expressed that even in the year 2014, there are still many obstacles for women to overcome before men and women are recognized as equals; and they’re not simply going to disappear.
Sometimes there are young women coming up through the ranks that may not understand their role, know how to lead, or may feel shy and insecure.
“I think it takes us as leaders, as chief petty officers, and staff non-commissioned officers to embrace them and show them how to grow and be empowered through the military,” said Molina.
Additionally, male leaders sometimes may not understand what female junior service members in their command are going through personally, physically or emotionally.
“It’s up to us, senior leadership, to show [male leaders] the way and explain to them why their junior Marine or sailor is having those certain issues as a mother, as a wife, or just as a young military individual,” said Molina. “So, I think it’s important that we work together; it’s not only on the women, it’s definitely a partnership.”
The symposium gave service members and civilians the opportunity to come together. It was a time of celebration of how far women’s equality has come in uniform.
“We have arrived,” said Molina. “There is ignorance out there, but we are our own holdback … as women, we need to come together, embrace each other, empower each other, and look at each other and realize we’re doing this, we’re doing it well, and we’re going to do it in the end.”