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Directorate of Research
Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
740 O’Malley Road
Patrick Air Force Base, Florida 32925-3399
Observance Series Pamphlet 01-2
Photographs on the front cover are courtesy of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, at
Clockwise starting in upper left:
Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) mathematics genius, computer pioneer, inventor, and
teacher. She was the first woman to attain the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.
Harriet Tubman (c.1820-1913) abolitionist born a slave who eventually became a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad.
Clara Barton (1821-1912) founder the American Red Cross. Barton ministered to injured soldiers during the Civil War and became known as the "Angel of the Battlefield."
Antonia Novello (1944- ) first woman and first Hispanic to be named Surgeon General of the United States.
Mary A. Hallaren (1907- ) leader who championed permanent status for women in the military after World War II as director of the Women's Army Corps.
Jacqueline Cochran (1906-1980) first woman aviator to break the sound barrier. She founded the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPS) during World War II.
Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-1995) shaped the development of two major government institutions as first Director of the Women's Army Corps and first Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Eileen Collins, USAF (1956- ) first American woman to pilot a spacecraft.
Preface Commander Scot S. Graham, U.S. Coast Guard, of the First Coast Guard District Boston, Massachusetts, served as a participant in the Topical Research Intern Program at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) during the month of August 2000. He conducted the necessary research to prepare this paper.
The Topical Research Intern Program selects servicemembers and Department of Defense or Transportation civilian employees for the opportunity to work on diversity/equal opportunity projects while on a 30-day tour of duty at the Institute. During their tour, the interns use a variety of primary and secondary source materials to compile research or review data pertaining to an issue of importance to leadership, supervisors, and equal opportunity (EO) or equal employment opportunity (EEO) specialists throughout the Services. The resulting publications (such as this one) are intended as resource and educational materials and do not represent official policy statements or endorsements by the DOD, DOT, or any of their agencies. The publications are distributed to EO/EEO personnel and senior officials to aid them in their leadership and diversity management duties.
Women’s History Month – March 2001 Women’s History Month grew from a grassroots educational initiative. The first was a local weeklong celebration in 1978 by an educational task force in Sonoma County, California. The following year, the success of that initiative was shared with the Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and a groundswell of similar educational initiatives grew around the country. Consequently, in 1981 Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution to support a national observance of the week. In 1987, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned the Congress to expand the national celebration to the entire month of March. For more information on Women’s History Month refer to http://www.nwhp.org/month.html#congress.
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this report are those of the author and should not be construed to represent the official position of DEOMI, the military Services, or the Departments of Defense and Transportation.
The theme for Women's History Month 2001 is “Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage.” This paper presents a tapestry of the human experience within the history of women serving America, with a particular focus on the military. It serves to celebrate inspiring examples of leadership and achievement that required great vision and courage. This information may serve to augment your professional development and leadership program. The true stories related herein serve as an inspiration to all.
The common heritage that transcends the facts herein is the perseverance defined by these leadership role models. These women blazed new frontiers and set new directions for our country and military. They were motivated with an undeniable sense of purpose. They distinguished themselves in accomplishments of the human mind, body, and spirit that required remarkable reservoirs of fortitude. They embodied the core values of our Armed Services and their legacy is a treasure to behold and share. Their stories serve to nurture the aspirations of others to pursue and fulfill future dreams in the interest of humankind.
Leadership is everyone's business and responsibility. (12:3-29) It is the cornerstone of readiness to succeed in any arena (private, public, or military). A key leadership process that enables us to meet our organizational readiness goals is diversity management. To ensure the highest probability for mission success, we must seize every opportunity to celebrate our diversity in the past, present, and future. Such celebration sows the seeds for a stronger diverse workforce for the future. This investment will realize readiness returns in our human resources and total force. The Department of Defense’s Human Goals, signed by the highest military leaders state a goal, “…to make military service a model of equal opportunity for all regardless of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.” This charter is sustained because of the military leaders’ commitment to valuing diversity and fostering mutual respect and cooperation among all persons.
A leadership commitment to diversity is a commitment to all facets of human resources within the organization. Effective diversity management develops an environment that works for all employees, thus enhancing any organization’s readiness. It allows organizational elements to develop and evolve steps for tapping the potential of all their human resources. (63:10) Managing diversity means inspiring employees not only everything the leader (and the public) has a right to expect, but everything they have potential to offer. (63:12) To be successful in diversity management, leadership must have a full appreciation of the implications of organizational cultural roots. (63:13) “A tree behaves the way it does because of its roots.” (63:57) The cultural roots determine how things work in the organization, how managers do their jobs, and how employees are treated; in other words, all the behaviors that collectively characterize the organization. Sometimes the old roots will resist necessary new roots even though acceptance will benefit the overall tree (organization). (63:13-14) Consequently, leadership must work to influence the observable aspects of the organizational culture, including the stories, rites, rituals, and symbols that are shared by organizational members. (57:274-277) To grow a healthier, more beneficial organizational culture, leadership
can do the following:
In essence, managing diversity depends upon creating an organizational culture of respect, and that starts with the leader. The word respect is derived from the Latin respicere, which means “to see.” Creating a culture of respect starts with a special kind of vision from within the leader. The leader begins by looking at his or her own passions and self-esteem in order to discover what makes him/her feel inspired and respected. When leaders are at peace with themselves, they become more fulfilled persons. This personal insight becomes the leader's building blocks for creating a culture of respect.
The leader then extends these insights into the organization and creates management practices based on the principle of respect. (56:236) This paper's goal is to inspire further reflection on the leadership lessons our legacy has to offer in pursuit of personal, professional, and military excellence. It provides just a sampling of the vast leadership lessons that can be drawn from the study of women’s history. Ignorance of this history weakens our potential to attract and motivate new generations into our workforce.
Air Force Colonel Jose Bolton, Sr., present Commandant of the Defense Equal Opportunity
Management Institute (DEOMI), sums this up:
Knowledge, Equality, and Readiness.…The truth is we are not only talking about concepts which remind us of our present objectives but also demand a climate of continuous process improvement and excellence essential for leading a diverse organization. In addition, they are powerful words with objectives that can only be realized through the involvement and interaction of people.
We believe these three words are forever linked to achieving EO/EEO excellence. They represent a chain of events, which must be mastered and internalized if we are to remain mission capable. We need to understand how to lead and manipulate this process when promoting EO/EEO and not allow ourselves to be lulled into thinking that each step is a box to check and, once checked, never to be revisited.
The mastery of the concepts of knowledge, equality, and readiness and how they contribute to mission success is essential to manipulation of the process and moving individual and organizational thinking from yesterday’s paradigms to those necessary for success tomorrow. DEOMI believes that leaders at all levels of the DOD must periodically update their knowledge base and renew their commitment to equality. Knowledge of themselves, their environment, and the organization will make it clear that equity is essential in creating the trust that is so important to readiness.
Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage iv But they can’t stop there. They must take the opportunity to demonstrate this commitment through their daily deeds every day.
DEOMI believes knowledge, equality, and readiness are not just words, but rather elements of (leadership) an equation which will lead to mission accomplishment. And when we cut to the chase, defending the United States and its interests is our mission. (37) Women's History Month 2001: Inspiring Stories of Vision and Courage vi
IntroductionThis paper celebrates Women's History Month. It is also a celebration of leadership. It honors women through reflection on some of the individuals that have contributed to the proud legacy of American women. It focuses on inspiring cases of visionary leadership and courage.
Through knowledge of these facts we hope to emulate and motivate rather than just applaud.
(17:234) This paper honors elected women from our nation's history who (1) pioneered a new direction or field; (2) had an extraordinary experience, requiring great courage, bravery, or sacrifice; (3) led an exemplary life to which others might aspire; (4) endured and overcame extreme conditions or discrimination; or (5) demonstrated consummate leadership.
President Clinton’s remarks June 25, 1995, at the groundbreaking of the Women in Service
of America Memorial provide us an outstanding segue into this paper’s focus:
Women have been in our service, as has been said, since George Washington’s troops fought for independence, clothing and feeding our troops and binding their wounds. They were in the struggle to preserve the Union as cooks and tailors, couriers and scouts, even as spies and saboteurs. Some were so determined to fight for what they believed that they masqueraded as men and took up arms.
Women were there during the two World Wars, and slowly, our military establishment that for decades had sought to limit women’s roles brought them to serve as WACS and WAVES, SPARS and WASPS and Women Marines. In our Nation’s shipyards and factories, women helped build democracy’s arsenal. From the beaches of Normandy to the Pacific Islands, they endured bombs, torpedoes, disease, deprivation to support our fighting forces.
Despite this history of bravery and accomplishment, for very much too long women were treated as second class soldiers. They could give their lives for liberty, but they couldn’t give orders to men. They could heal the wounded and hold the dying, but they could not dream of holding the highest ranks. They could take on the toughest assignments, but they could not take up arms. Still, they volunteered, fighting for freedom all around the world but also fighting for the right to serve to the fullest of their potential. And from conflict to conflict, from Korea to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, slowly, women have overcome the barriers to their full service in America.
The past few decades have witnessed remarkable series of firsts: the first woman company commander, the first female service academy graduate, the first women skipper, the first female fighter pilot, the firsts that are here with us today.
Twenty-five years ago this month, Anna Mae McCabe Hays became the first women promoted to general. Hazel Johnson-Brown was the first minority woman to reach that rank. And 2 years ago, it my honor to nominate the Secretary of the Air Force, Sheila Widnall, to become the first woman to head one of our service branches.
But just as important as these firsts are those who have followed them proving that they were not an accident or aberration, for women today are test pilots and drill sergeants, squadron commanders and admirals, academy instructors and service recruiters. (22)
Readiness is our mission. Readiness provides the best defense of our nation's interests, and optimum care of our human resources. Leadership (personal, interpersonal, and organizational) is the critical path to achieve those goals. In essence, leadership is everyone's business and everyone's responsibility. (12:3-29) There is a reciprocal relationship between those who lead and those who follow, and the credibility of leadership is the catalyst. (17:1) (16:26) The leader enables the individual and the organization to succeed in this relationship. (16:12) We want our leaders to be credible and to have a sense of direction (purpose). Leaders must be able to stand before us and confidently express an image of our shared desired future.