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Master Sgt. Mike Smith, National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. –04.10.2009
A leader in women's human rights told Army National Guard Soldiers here today that they have a part to play in preventing the suffering of women and girls around the world.
"All of us here are the hope and support for women and girls around the planet," said Leslie R. Wolfe, president of the Center for Women Policy Studies, during a closing celebration ceremony of this year's Women's History Month at the Army Guard Readiness Center.
Wolfe visited the center this morning before attending a ceremony where she congratulated the Guardmembers for their service and noted the progress women have made as leaders in the military and government.
The mission of the Center for Women Policy Studies is to shape public policy to improve women's lives and preserve women's human rights.
"All over the world there are girls with no leadership and you are the ones who inspire," Wolfe told the service members.
Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, assistant to the director of the Army Guard, hosted the ceremony.
"In the military, especially in the Army, women have played an incredible, important part in what we do," said Carpenter. "Without women's support and participation, we would not be able to defend our nation."
Wolfe told the Guard members that their increased leadership and rank has a "sacred purpose to lift women, families and communities out of oppression, poverty and despair."
"Whenever and wherever we enter in any arena, we have the duty to fearlessly speak out for what is right, no matter the cost to our own power and success," she said. "We have an obligation to improve the lives of women everywhere," she said.
Carpenter gave examples of the progress women in the military have made including the promotion of the first woman four-star general: Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody. He added that he has seen similar accomplishments and sacrifices in the National Guard including a Guardswoman from Kentucky who earned the Silver Star.
"It helps me to really go back and remember all of those who have set the path for women," said Army Master Sgt. Lisa Porillo-Birkhead, division sergeant major for the Army Guard's Soldier and Family Support and Service Division.
It's pretty refreshing," she said about Wolfe's words. "But it makes me feel like we are still working toward being equal."
There are nearly 51,000 women serving in the Army Guard and 20,000 women serving in the Air Guard among the Guard's nearly 470,000 service members.