Fort McCoy News September 12, 2014

Fort McCoy observes Women's Equality Day

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Fort McCoy Public Affairs

Fort McCoy's Aug. 28 observance of Women's Equality Day featured a presentation and shooting event led by guest speaker Karen Butler, president of the company Shoot Like a Girl.

Fort McCoy Equal Opportunity Adviser and Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Master Sgt. Matthew Fitzgibbons said the reoccurring theme of Women's Equality Day is "Celebrating Women's Right to Vote." Women's Equality Day commemorates American women achieving full voting rights under the U.S. Constitution by the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Photo for Equality Day article
Karen Butler, president of the company Shoot Like a Girl, gives a presentation Aug. 28 during the Fort McCoy observance of Women's Equality Day.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

For the installation observance, Butler provided a one-hour presentation at McCoy's Community Club as well as a hands-on training event for women interested in archery and handgun familiarization.

Butler said the origins of Women's Equality Day are important to remember.

"Women got the right to vote in 1920, and it saddens me when we look at our political environment at how many women don't vote," Butler said. "We had women who (went) to jail so we could have our right to vote. They were treated horribly. They were shunned from their communities.

"When election times come around, whatever your political view is, I encourage you to get out there and vote," Butler said.

Butler said she was honored to be invited to speak at Fort McCoy. She explained what Shoot Like A Girl offers to introducing women to shooting sports.

"We are dedicated to growing the number of women who participate in shooting sports," said Butler, who is also a Department of the Army civilian employee. "I travel around the country with a 52-foot mobile shooting range that has a military-grade firing simulator and a live archery range."

According to her biography, Butler launched Shoot Like a Girl in February 2009 at the World Archery Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. It's a company dedicated to growing the number of women who participate in shooting sports by "empowering them with confidence."

Photo for equality day
Karen Butler takes aim with a compound bow Aug. 28
during a shooting demonstration at Fort McCoy Sport-
sman's Range.
Photo by Master Sgt. Matthew Fitzgibbons

Butler targeted four points in her presentation — women should get involved in something, women can do anything "if we don't hold ourselves back," men are important to women's success, and shooting sports can help women.
Butler said the women who went to jail in 1920 "got involved" in something they believed in by hoping to achieve equality in voting and more.

"They said, 'we want it all,'" Butler said. "We want to be able to run our businesses. We want to be equal in the workforce. We want the same thing and the same opportunities that our male counterparts have. And, we got it."

Statistics, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, show women in the workforce are paid approximately 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Butler said it's because women think differently than men, and they could possibly be holding themselves back from that equal pay.

"Our male counterparts have no problem going in (to management) and saying, 'I've been working hard, and I deserve a promotion,'" Butler said. "Women will go in and say, 'I've been working hard, and I was thinking that if you were going to give somebody a promotion that I might want to (get) it.' We don't say, 'I am worth' this amount of money.

"We have to work on our self-worth," Butler said to encourage women to have more confidence in all they do. "In equality, that's how we can help ourselves."

Men can help women achieve more in their lives, Butler said. Also, she said her company's belief is "we don't stereotype ourselves, and we don't push men down."

"Men are pulling us up," Butler said. "You have to decide how you treat your situation."

Butler said 90 percent of those who participate in shooting sports are men, so it's important to have males help women achieve greater success in everything, including shooting sports. "You have to be smart if you want to be equal, and you have to take advantage of the opportunity that is there," she said.

Getting more women involved in shooting sports is a goal of Butler's company, she said. Butler started shooting in 2000 after camping with some friends where she first shot a bow and rifle. She said she was going through a tough life event and the sport helped her recover. She instantly was hooked on the thrill, power and control of shooting.

That first opportunity led to the growth of her company and to her involvement in helping more than 5,000 women across the U.S. become more involved in shooting sports as well as hunting.

"If it's just a dad (who hunts in the household), 46 percent of the boys and just 13 percent of the girls who will hunt in that household," Butler said. "But add mom to that equation and it goes to 64 percent of the boys and 50 percent of the girls who will hunt. So it's vital that we get moms out there to participate in shooting sports."

Women will find more confidence in themselves if they give shooting sports a try, Butler said. And confidence will lead to other opportunities of empowerment.

For more information about Butler and her company, visit the website www.shootlikeagirl.com. For more information about Women's Equality Day and other observances, call Fitzgibbons at 608-388-3246.