MHAFB celebrates women's equality day

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- On Aug. 26, MHAFB will be celebrating 91 years of women exercising their right to vote. The base will recognize this anniversary by raising women's equality awareness and asking Gunfighters to distinguish the differences between current and past equalities of men and women.

"We want our women to be knowledgeable on where we come from and the rights that women have fought for," said Staff Sgt. Evon Pretulak, 366th Fighter Wing Equal Opportunity director. "If it wasn't for our predecessors who fought for our rights, we wouldn't know the right of equality in the workplace, the right to vote or the right to simply have our voices heard," said Pretulak.

On this day of observance, all Gunfighters are encouraged to show their appreciation for women around the base.

"We can all do something to acknowledge women's equality whether it be learning something about a personal female ancestor, learning something new about women's history or simply thanking a female in a leadership position," said Pretulak.

MHAFB boasts a variety of diverse women, some of whom are positioned in prestigious leadership roles.

"I really enjoy sitting down with some of my female leaders and talking about where they have come from and what they have seen," said Pretulak. "For example, I know Chief Master Sgt. Maldonado comes from another country and has obtained significant Air Force experience, which brings a unique perspective."

Chief Master Sgt. Maria Maldonado, 366th Mission Support Group superintendent, originally hails from Puerto Rico, and in her 28 years of service has witnessed first-hand the evolution of women's equality in the Air Force.

"When I came in, there were not nearly as many female chiefs as there are now and a lot of career fields were not open to females," said Maldonado. "Just in the past 10 years a lot more career fields have been including women."

Pretulak encourages Gunfighters to take advantage of the opportunity to reflect upon what equality means to them, as well as remember all the women-past and present-who have helped demolish the wall of gender segregation.

"As a strong and independent woman, I can say that I may not be able to lift as much or run as fast as a man, but I should at least be given a chance," said Pretulak. "If given the chance, maybe I will not succeed; but to at least have the opportunity to try is what the word equality means to me."