What do bikes have to do with women’s equality?
After reading more of the history of Women’s Suffrage, coming up with what to do for this year’s Women’s Equality event was easy, according to Sgt. 1st Class Edwin Lauderback, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Equal Opportunity adviser.
“As I dug into the history of Women’s equality, I learned that bikes played a large part,” he said. “It brought about the change in women’s fashion and made them more mobile during that time period.”
The transition from the large burdensome dresses and skirts, tight fitting corsets to more practical wear such as shorter skirts and loose trousers was prompted by the popularity bicycling gained in the late 1800s.
Lauderback joined forces with the Wiesbaden Trailblazer Club to host a bike rally in celebration of Women’s Equality Day Aug. 22 at Clay Kaserne.
Kathleen Marin, Installation Management Command Europe Regional director, gave remarks to kick off the event. Marin tied the history to the events theme with a quote from Susan B. Anthony who dedicated her life to the women’s suffrage movement. “Bicycling … has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of freedom, untrammeled womanhood.”
Marin told the audience that even though the movement for women’s equality has come a long way, there is still work to be done toward gaining full equality. “We still demand equal pay, a workplace that balances family and professional needs fairly, and equal representation in leadership positions,” she said, adding that women in many countries around the world are still fighting for basic rights.
About 100 people participated in the event that featured a one-, three and ten-mile bike course, and many participated on foot to be a part of the celebration.
The community looks forward to Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Contact Lauderback at mil 337-5897 or the unit’s equal opportunity officer to be a part of the celebration.