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Ambassador Douglas Griffiths, Marshall Center´s associate director for International Liaison, speaks about his experiences abroad and what he has learned about the challenges for women's equality during the Equal Opportunity Committee of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies Women´s Equality Day Observance Aug. 26 at the Marshall Center Dining Facility. (Marshall Center photo by Sgt. Amanda Moncada)

By GCMC Public Affairs

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Aug. 29, 2016) – The Equal Opportunity Committee of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies hosted a Women’s Equality Day Observance Aug. 26 at the Marshall Center Dining Facility.

Women's Equality Day is a day proclaimed each year by the U.S. President to commemorate the granting of the vote to women throughout the United States. Women in the United States were granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified as law.

“Women’s Equality Day underscores the importance of these types of days to remember past injustice, past sacrifices and lingering challenges,” said Ambassador Douglas Griffiths, Marshall Center’s associate director for International Liaison, who was the keynote speaker. “It also provides a moment to rededicate ourselves to our commitment of liberty and justice for all.”

The committee asked Griffiths to speak about his experiences abroad and what he has learned about the challenges for women’s equality. He joined the Foreign Service in 1988 and has served in Quebec City, Canada; Lisbon, Portugal; Maputo, Mozambique; South Africa; Rabat, Morocco; Geneva; Republic of Haiti; and, Guayaquil, Ecuador.

“I’m not an expert in the struggle for gender equality, and do not have privileged insights to lead our discussion," he said. "Instead, I thought I would share vignettes from my postings, both from my interactions with the host nations, and from my experiences within our own bureaucracies.”

Griffiths then went chronologically through his career sharing illustrative examples of things he has learned about the challenges and opportunities in fostering women’s equality.

“My hope is that it might give you all food for thought, and challenge you to consider how you and we as a community can become a force for greater equity.”

Every president has published a proclamation for Women's Equality Day since 1972, the year after legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Abzug. This resolution was passed in 1971 designating August 26 of each year as Women's Equality Day.