San Diego, California - Sailors and civilians assigned to Commander, Navy Region Southwest, highlighted past and present achievements of women during a celebration of Women's History Month, March 20.

The theme for this year's Women's History Month, "Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment," honors the extraordinary and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women.

Guest speaker Mary Brown, counsel to Navy Region Southwest, delivered a presentation on prominent women role models such as Adm. Michelle Howard, first woman four-star admiral and to be nominated as Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Brown also spoke about the oppositions women in the U.S. and around the world have faced and talked about issues that are still happening today. She highlighted a timeline of women's rights in the Navy and the challenges and accomplishments throughout the years. Additionally, she contrasted how in other countries women's rights have declined, due to conflict, political ideals and extremists.

"We need to be aware of women's rights because the more we're aware, the more we can guard them," said Brown.

In closing her speech, Brown explained that growing up she didn't have a female role model but found many while serving in the Navy after graduating from U.S. Naval Academy. She then encouraged all women in the room to be a role model and mentor others.

"We should all be proud to be in the Navy," said Brown." The Navy has always been a leader in woman's rights."

Women in attendance received a carnation as a sign of appreciation.

"Everyone who came had the opportunity to learn something new," said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Robert Johnson, master of ceremonies. "We were able to shine a light on the accomplishments and contributions achieved by women."

This year marks the 28th annual observance of women's history in the United States. It began as "Women's History Week" in 1978 and later changed to "Women's History Month" in 1987. National Women's History Month provides an opportunity to educate the general public about the significant role of women in American history and contemporary society.