Rep. Maloney Pays Tribute to Foremothers in Celebration of Women’s History Month
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), lead House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and author of the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, which was recently signed into law, spoke on the House floor this evening in celebration of Women’s History Month. She highlighted the Equal Rights Amendment, the forthcoming Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, and the achievements women across the country have made in the advancement of equality.
You can watch the Congresswoman’s floor speech and read a transcript below.
“In 1921— exactly 100 years ago, just after ratifying the 19th Amendment, the suffragists set their sights on another constitutional change. The vote was not enough for them, they knew we needed to put gender equality into our Constitution. And so, these women, among them [my] relative – Alice Paul, wrote the Equal Rights Amendment.
“It was first introduced in Congress in 1923, in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention in our country. It was introduced in the House by Representative Daniel Anthony, nephew of the great suffragist leader Susan B. Anthony, to honor her work, as well as the work of many others like the great suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, also of New York.
“Today, during History Month for Women, we honor these women as constitution makers, but verbal praise alone is not enough. We must also carry out their wishes. Because now— a full 100 years later— the Equal Rights Amendment is still not part of the U.S. Constitution.
“I thank Jackie Speier and all the women and like-minded men in this Congress that voted to move the Equal Rights [Amendment] movement forward.”
“Eighty-five percent of U.N. member states have constitutions that explicitly guarantee equality for women and girls. These constitutional guarantees have enabled national legal reforms that eliminated discriminatory laws and have helped usher in new laws protecting girls and women. Where once the U.S. was a leader on gender equality, when it comes to our Constitution— we are now far, far behind.
“Today— we must fulfill the hope of our suffragist foremothers and make equality a reality in our nation’s most fundamental document.
“And I must say that throughout this struggle, I have always said ‘Where are the Women?’
“When I walk around the [National] Mall, they have museums for everything – but not women. And it is hard to empower women if we don’t even recognize them.
“So, this women’s caucus put in a bill to create a national women’s museum on the Mall. I thought this would be easy. It took us two decades to finally pass it last year. But, it is now going to be built. It was a priority of this caucus and we made it happen.
“I just want to close to say that our Smithsonian Women’s History Museum will inspire visitors of all ages and all genders for generations to come.
“I am so glad to join my colleagues for tonight’s special order to celebrate the historical achievements of women and to look forward to creating a more equal future for all. And preserving this history and contributions of women in the new Smithsonian women’s museum which is now going to be built on the [National] Mall due to this Congress and this women’s caucus. I thank all of my colleagues that helped this happen and helped the passage of the ERA today. And I yield back with great gratitude.”
Since coming to Congress, Congresswoman Maloney has worked tirelessly as an advocate and leader on women’s issues. She has placed a special emphasis on women’s health needs, reproductive freedom, international family planning, and securing women’s equality in the Constitution.
Equal Rights Amendment: Congresswoman Maloney is the leader in Congress of the effort to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Read more
Smithsonian Women’s History Museum: In November 2016, a bipartisan Congressional Commission — created by a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Maloney — issued a report recommending the creation of a new Smithsonian Museum dedicated to women’s history. In March 2019, Reps. Maloney, Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act to establish such a museum National Mall. The bill passed with broad bipartisan support and a version was signed into law in December 2020. Read more
Gender Pay Gap: Throughout her time in Congress, Congresswoman Maloney has been a steadfast leader in fighting for women’s rights, including closing the gender pay gap. A typical woman today, working full-time and year-round, is paid just 82 cents for every $1 paid to her male counterpart. It is unacceptable that in the year 2021 women on the whole are not being paid fairly for their work. This is not merely a women's issue, it is an issue that affects every American family who is increasingly dependent on women's earnings. Read more
Reproductive Choice: Congresswoman Maloney is a strong advocate for a woman’s right to choose and an outspoken supporter of women’s reproductive rights. However, choice is meaningless without access. That is why she has been monitoring the efforts of the anti-choice establishment to devalue a woman’s right to choose and has been actively working against any legislative limits to access. Read more
Reducing the National Rape Kit Backlog: Congresswoman Maloney authored the Debbie Smith Act to help reduce the backlog of untested DNA rape kits. First passed into law in 2004, this bill has been lauded “as the most important anti-rape legislation ever signed into law,” by the head of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).