Ellsworth hosts its first Women’s Conference

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Ward
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Since 1987, the U.S. has celebrated Women’s History Month in the month of March. The contributions and achievements by women are rightfully celebrated and recognized nationally during this month.

In honor of Women’s History Month, 1st Lt. Alexis Hickey, 89th Attack Squadron chief of the MQ-9 mission planning cell, and Crystal Evans, 89th Attack Squadron unit program coordinator, wanted to shine a light on issues women face in the military today. Thus, they created the first Women’s Conference in Ellsworth history, which took place on March 1 and 2.

“The conference is hosted by a myriad of different people who are all working towards a common goal,” said Hickey. “The intent was to integrate people from all different backgrounds to add diversity not only to speakers, but to the topics discussed.”

The conference sought to identify challenges women face in the workplace and possible solutions to combat those obstacles. Hickey believes we will gain more momentum breaking down these barriers if we don’t shy away from uncomfortable conversations.

“Problems require work, integration, communication, trust and a common vision,” said Hickey. “In the grand scheme of things, this conference is a small step to creating a more inclusive environment, but it is all the little actions that add up and amount to big changes in the military.”

The event hosted over 157 attendees over a two day span. The symposium featured 14 guest speakers, who ignited discussions with the audience.

“Talking about the tough conversations that need to be had, like what are the things that women are viewing or seeing while they are in the military [but] don’t say anything because either they’ll get singled out or they’ll get chastised,” said Evans.

Organizers say the goal is for all women, regardless of rank, to feel comfortable speaking out against some of the injustices against them, without fear of repercussions.

However, Hickey wants everyone to know tough situations shouldn’t deter you from accomplishing what you’re passionate about.

Her message is simple for any young girl or woman who is scared to make the jump into the military: “If you have your mind set on a goal, don’t ever sell yourself short,” said Hickey.

Hickey hopes the event will be held annually to celebrate Women’s History Month at Ellsworth.