Maloney, leading women kick off #BecauseOfHer campaign to share stories of inspirational women, support a National Women's History Museum

Nov 17, 2014
Press Release
Bipartisan National Women’s History Museum would chronicle stories to inspire future generations

NEW YORK  – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and leading women today gathered in Manhattan to launch the #BecauseOfHer campaign. The social media effort features women sharing the stories of the women who inspired their lives, and aims to draw attention to the effort to build a National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) in Washington DC that would chronicle those stories. Rep. Maloney and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) authored a bill (H.R. 863) to create a privately funded commission to make recommendations for a NWHM. Their bill passed the House on May 7 by a vote of 383-33 but is currently being blocked in the Senate by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Mike Lee (R-UT). 

Rep. Maloney was joined by President of the National Women’s History Museum Joan Wages, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, Assemblymember Elect Rebecca Seawright, Vice Chair of the New York State Democratic Party Trudy L. Mason, Susan Danish of the Junior League International, President of Alliance for Downtown New York Jessica Lappin, Owner of Straus Media Jeanne Straus, President of the Financial Women’s Association Kimberly Weinrick, President of the Enterprising and Professional Women of New York City Francesca Burack, and CEO and Founder of Bella Abzug Leadership Institute Liz J. Abzug. 

“We started #BecauseOfHer to highlight the importance of inspirational figures,” said Maloney. “For me it was Geraldine Ferraro. She was a trailblazer. She was the first woman to be nominated to a major party Presidential ticket. Her story should be told and the stories of other remarkable women should be told to inspire the great leaders of our next generation. My bill to establish a National Women’s History Museum is being held up by two male Senators. I hope that this effort will show the broad support for the museum and why it is so important.”

“All of us stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us,” said President of the National Women’s History Museum Joan Wages.  “For many of us, it was our mother who inspired us to live the best life possible.  My mother repeatedly provided the encouragement I needed to cross life’s hurdles.  It is Because of Her that I have dedicated the last 18 years to honoring our nation’s women.”

"When I was younger, I got into political life because of Mary Anne Krupsak, the first woman elected Liuetenant Governor of New York State. Women of all ages need role models and illustrations of the various paths that women can take in life. That's why I strongly support Congresswoman Maloney's bill to create the National Women's History Museum,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

“Without Miriam Friedlander (NYC Council, District 2, 1973-1991) there would be no Margarita Lopez (NYC Council, District 2, 1998-2005) and without Margarita Lopez there would be no Rosie Mendez (NYC Council, District 2, 2006-2017). I stand on their shoulders. In 1973, Miriam was one of two women serving on the NYC Council.  In 1997, Margarita was the first out lesbian elected to the City Council and the first Puerto Rican Lesbian elected to office in the United States. I admired their passion and fearless advocacy against injustices. As outspoken women, they took some bruising to have their voices heard and, as a result, they paved a smoother path for me.  That's why I support Congresswomen's Maloney's bill to create the National Women's History Museum so that the inspirational stories of women like Miriam and Margarita are captured and told,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.

"When I was 19 and in college, I met Ann Richards, then Texas State Treasurer.  I joined her winning campaign for Governor, organizing young women throughout the State.  She proved that women can succeed at any level and remains an enduring inspiration.  Her story belongs in the National Women's History Museum, proposed by our champion Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney," said

Rebecca Seawright, Assembly Member Elect, 76th District.

Rep. Maloney and the National Women’s History Museum organization are encouraging other women to share their stories in the form of videos, photos, tweets, and Facebook posts under the #BecauseOfHer banner.

Background:

On February 27, 2013, Rep, Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women’s History Museum Act, H.R. 863, which would establish a commission to report recommendations to the President and Congress concerning a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC. The commission would not cost taxpayers one dime, since the necessary funds would be raised by the nonprofit National Women's History Museum, Inc. (NWHM).

On May 7, the House voted 383 to 33 to establish a commission on the creation of a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC. This bipartisan bill had the support of leaders from both parties, including Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

Senate Majority Leader Reid attempted to "hotline" the House-passed bill on June 5 which would have expedited its passage, but the bill was removed from the hotline at the last minute because a Senator objected. Senators Mike Lee and Tom Coburn are currently blocking the legislation.

A companion bill was introduced by Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and sponsored by all 20 women of the Senate. On November 13, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced the bill but time is running out on the current Congressional session. Similar legislation passed the Senate in the 108th and 109th Congresses.