Maloney Rings Nasdaq Opening Bell in honor of Women’s Equality Day

Aug 25, 2017
Press Release
Congresswoman and women leaders highlight need for an Equal Rights Amendment and Smithsonian Women’s History Museum

NEW YORK—Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) today rang the Opening Bell at NASDAQ in honor of Women’s Equality Day, which falls on August 26 and commemorates the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment. Rep. Maloney was joined by 40 women leaders from business, government, and non-profits. A full video of the bell ringing is available here.

Following the bell ringing, the group discussed the need for gender equality, and how a museum dedicated to women’s contributions throughout the nation’s history and passing the Equal Rights Amendment would help achieve that goal. Rep. Maloney’s Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, which would establish such a museum on the National Mall, has the support of the majority of the House of Representatives with 246 bipartisan cosponsors. The bill number, H.R. 19, was specifically reserved for this legislation in honor of the 19th Amendment.

“It is thanks to the persistence of Fearless Women, like those standing here today, that we are able to celebrate Women’s Equality Day,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “Each year, we take a moment to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment, granting half our population one of the most fundamental democratic rights. Nearly a century has passed, and women now enjoy opportunities that our mothers and grandmothers only dreamed of, but we still do not have full equality under the law. So we gather today for two reasons - to call for the proper recognition of past contributions by women throughout U.S. history by creating a national museum of women’s history on the National Mall in Washington, and to show our support for finally passing an Equal Rights Amendment guaranteeing Constitutional equality for men and women. Together, we can make this great nation a country where men and women are truly equal.”

“New York women have an enduring legacy in the pursuit of equal rights that began nearly 170 years ago in Seneca Falls, and as a result of their advocacy this state passed women’s suffrage three years before the rest of the nation,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “On Women’s Equality Day, we celebrate the accomplishments of the women who led the fight for equality, setting the stage for future battles against workplace discrimination, in support of pay equity, and to preserve a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care. It’s also important to note that our work to create a culture of respect and inclusion for all women, regardless of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation is far from over. Gender equality is a cause we are called to champion throughout our lifetime. As Lieutenant Governor, I consider it my mission to inspire the next generation of women to rise up and shape a more just, equitable society.”

“The vote was the first step,” said National Women’s History Museum President and CEO Joan Wages. “The National Women’s History Museum will inspire respect for women and is the next step towards gaining equality.”

"Women's Equality Day is both a celebration of a momentous victory for women, and a reminder that we are still far from achieving gender equality,” said National Organization for Women President Toni Van Pelt. “Lacking constitutional enforcement of equal rights, women are subject to multiple, ongoing forms of discrimination--and denied economic security, reproductive autonomy, and freedom from violence. Our twenty-first century movement for an Equal Rights Amendment will reflect our twenty-first century commitment to inclusive, intersectional feminism. Unless women of color, low-income women, women with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA+ community are included when we talk about gender equality,  it’s not really equality at all."

“Today we commemorate the 19th Amendment, however, true equality for women is just an illusion, said National Women’s Political Caucus President Donna Lent. “We live in a tenuous time. The only way to ensure our daughters, wives and sisters are protected is the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment which elevates women to the same class as men.  An ERA that guarantees equal rights for all people; rights that can't be stripped away by an executive order.”

"Girl Scouting is founded upon the idea that today's girls are tomorrow's leaders, and with the right support they will develop the skills and confidence to advocate for what they believe in and affect change in their communities, their country, and the world. As the world's largest and most successful girls' leadership organization, we've always found the best way to train the next generation of leaders is creating a space by girls, for girls,'" said Girl Scouts of Greater New York CEO Meridith Maskara. "This Women's Equality Day, we are reminded of the great women who worked so tirelessly to make the 19th amendment a reality, and the many who continued to fight for equality in the years to follow. This work is still continuing, but we are inspired by the incredible potential we see in each of our Girl Scouts across the five boroughs." 

"We cannot ignore that still today women have fewer economic and cultural opportunities than men, and the New York Junior League is proud to continue fighting for women’s equality,” said NY Junior League President Suzanne Manning. “From supporting women's suffrage to advocating for the successful passing of the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act, every day our work with women—whether mothers, immigrants, or survivors of domestic violence—empowers them with the tools and skills to seek better jobs and wages and promise a better future for their families."

“I am so proud to stand with Congresswoman Maloney and other women leaders today to champion gender equality,” said President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Jessica Walker.  “I look forward to the day when we can honor the significant contributions of women throughout our history by visiting a women’s history museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC.”

"The ERA Coalition, with over 100 organizations representing millions of people across the country,  is honored to share this Women's Equality Day and the ringing of the bell with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney,” said ERA Coalition Board Member Carol Jenkins. “Let this action make sure every woman, child and man knows how much work is left to achieve equality. We can do this-- together.”

” As we’ve seen over the course of the past 12 months, the need for Women’s Equality is needed now more than ever,” said Heidi Sieck, CEO and co-founder of #VOTEPROCHOICE. “We witnessed the most qualified presidential candidate (who happened to be female) in history be bullied by a basic businessman, a congress utilizing only congressmen to decide healthcare needs of women, or even how men continue to try and control our bodies, there is still a fundamental need for the Equal Rights Amendment to be passed. That’s why I’m honored to stand alongside ERA champion Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and the scores of others who have advocated for women’s equality.”

Among those who joined the Congresswoman for today’s events were: New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul; Toni Van Pelt, President of National Organization for Women (NOW); Donna Lent, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC); Meredith Maskara, CEO Girl Scouts of Greater NY; Calista Lee, Alyssa Dass, Whitney Williams, and Elizabeth Karpen, Girl Scouts; Joan Wages, President of National Women’s History Museum; Heather Nesle, President of the New York Life Foundation; Jessica Walker, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; Suzanne Manning, President of New York Junior League; Susan Danish, Executive Director of Junior Leagues International; Heidi Sieck, Co-Founder and CEO of #VOTERPROCHOICE & organizer of the Women’s March; Carol Jenkins, ERA Coalition Board Member; Kristen Visbal, Fearless Girl artist; Linda Dunn, volunteer with Moms Demand Action; Monica Atiya, Upper East Siders for Change; Jessica Neuwirth, President of ERA Coalition; Maya Wiley, civil rights activist and board chair of the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB); Lori Sokol, Executive Director of Women’s eNews; Maria Cristina Gonzalez Noguera, The Estee Lauder Companies Senior VP of Global Public Affairs;  and Jacqueline Ebanks, Executive Director of the Commission on Gender Equity.


HR 19 Summary:

  • Establishes a Smithsonian national museum for the collection, study and establishment of programs covering the contributions of women to various fields throughout history;
  • Establishes an advisory council consisting of 25 members appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents to make recommendations concerning planning, design and construction, operations and finances, and programming for the museum;
  • Directs Smithsonian to appoint a Director to manage the museum and carry out educational programs in cooperation with other Smithsonian institutions and schools;
  • Instructs the Board of Regents to choose one of two locations for the museum site, both located on the National Mall and recommended by the Congressional Commission and authorizes the transfer of the chosen site to the Smithsonian Institution;
  • Ensures that private funds finance the construction of the museum building, while authorizing federal funds for the planning, design, and operation of the museum by the Smithsonian.

H.R. 19 is based on the work of the bipartisan American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commission, which was created in 2014  to study the need for such a museum through legislation introduced by Reps. Maloney and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) in the House and former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate. The bipartisan commission submitted its report to Congress in November 2016 with a unanimous recommendation that a comprehensive women’s history museum should be established on or near the National Mall as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

The bipartisan Commission’s report found:

  • The future Museum of Women’s History should be part of the Smithsonian; 
  • The exhibits and collections should be inclusive and represent a diverse array of viewpoints and perspectives of women who have helped shape America;
  • The museum deserves a prominent location on or very close to the National Mall;
  • Private sector money should finance the construction of a world-class museum.

Equal Rights Amendment:

The ERA is a constitutional amendment which would prohibit denying or abridging equal rights under law by the United States or any state on account of sex. This critical amendment would guarantee the equal rights of men and women by:

  • Making sex a suspect category subject to strict judicial scrutiny, clarifying the legal status of sex discrimination for the courts. This would prohibit sexual discrimination in the same way we have prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and national origin.
  • Guaranteeing equal footing for women in the legal systems of all 50 states.
  • Ensuring that government programs and federal resources benefit men and women equally.

Why we need the ERA:

  • An ERA will give all citizens the opportunity to reach their full potential. Women and men must have equal rights for a democracy to thrive.
  • An ERA will put women on equal footing in the legal systems of all 50 states, particularly in areas where women have historically been treated as second-class citizens, including in cases of public education, divorce, child custody, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
  • Women are still not receiving equal pay for equal work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women on average earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man.
  • Passing an ERA will put the full weight of the U.S. Constitution behind employment laws relating to the prevention of sex discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, and benefits – especially in the public sector.
  • An ERA will eliminate sex discrimination in the armed services and ensure that government programs, such as Social Security, do not have a disparate negative impact on women.
  • Pregnancy discrimination continues to be prevalent in the workforce. An ERA can protect women from being harmed by a policy simply because she is a woman.
  • The 14th amendment is not enough. Only an ERA would provide for gender equity and offer an “overriding guarantee” of equal protection for women.
  • Women’s progress can be all too easily rolled back. Laws can be repealed and judicial attitudes can shift. Supreme Court Justice Scalia has even said that the Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender.
  • An ERA will ensure that the rights of American women and girls will not be diminished by any Congress or any political trend, but instead be preserved as basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
  • An ERA would help promote equal pay for women in the country.