Source: Queens Gazette
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul hosted The Future is Female: Making a Difference in our Communities and in Congress with the Lower East Side Girls Club to highlight the importance of gender equality and discuss important initiatives to support women and girls, including state and federal Equal Rights Amendments, the establishment of a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, and New York’s Women’s Agenda.
Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and Executive Director of CUNY Feminist Press Jamia Wilson also joined the event to host breakout mentoring sessions with LES Girls Club Members. During these sessions, participants were able to speak with these leaders and hear firsthand about what it’s like to be a woman in politics, how women can support each other, and what advice they have for young women.
“We know that when women succeed America succeeds, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to fully support our women and girls,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney.“This Women’s History Month, I continue my calls for the establishment of a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum on the National Mall and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Although women are half the population, there is currently no comprehensive museum dedicated to telling the stories of the women who have shaped our nation. Building a women’s history museum will show our country, the world, and the girls we met today, that the U.S. values women and our many contributions to the nation. Until our equal rights are fully enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, we are not providing all our citizens with the opportunity to reach their full potential. Women and men must have equal rights for a democracy to thrive.
“Women and girls are underrepresented in the corridors of power, from business and government to computer science and STEM fields, many times creating a culture that inhibits women from achieving their maximum potential,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We have to support women and girls to ensure equal access to economic opportunities and success. As part of New York’s Women’s Agenda, we’re aggressively addressing deep rooted issues of gender inequality. We’re also investing in computer science education and funding for programs to encourage more girls to pursue nontraditional tech jobs of the future. We are leading the nation in our efforts, but we still have a long way to go to achieve full equality.”
“Our girls have BIG dreams, and like 9 year old Yolanda Renee King or 18 year old Emma Gonzalez, they know that they can and will make the dream of equality come true,” said Lyn Pentecost, Executive Director and Founder of the Lower East Side Girls Club. “Changing the world is a process that requires hard work and bravery. We are very excited that Lt. Governor Hochul, Congresswoman Maloney, and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera are here for us as mentors and role models. The future is female!”
“It is our mission to ensure that the girls and young women we serve are empowered to be leaders and change makers, and they recognize the unique and critical power they possess as girls and women,” said Ebonie Simpson, Managing Director of Government Relations and Development Initiatives for the Lower East Side Girls Club. “Whether they use their voices through community organizing, running for office, making art as a tool of activism and resistance, or taking seats at tables that lack women and girls’ representation, we know they will succeed.”
“We need to encourage women and girls to seek positions of power to ensure that our voices are heard and that decisions can be made with a broad and inclusive perspective,” saidCouncilwoman Carlina Rivera. “Look at the New York City Council. The first pieces of legislation that I and other councilwomen introduced this term helped strengthen the city’s laws against sexual harassment. And only last year, women in city government spearheaded efforts to advance equal pay. After seeing what it takes to win elected office as a woman and now govern as one, I am ready to share my experience with the next generation of leaders, so that gender inequity can one day seem like an ancient concept.”
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
Congresswoman Maloney is the leader in Congress of the effort to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. Many people today believe that equal rights for men and women are already enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – and are shocked when they learn that they are not. To this day, the right to vote is the only right guaranteed to women in the constitution, even though women make up more than 50% of the population.
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. It would also guarantee equal footing for women in the legal systems of all 50 states and ensure that government programs and federal resources benefit men and women equally.
SMITHSONIAN WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM
In November 2016, a bipartisan Congressional Commission — created by a bill sponsored by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney — issued a report recommending the creation of a new Smithsonian Museum dedicated to women’s history. In March 2017, Reps. Maloney and Ed Royce (CA-39) introduced H.R. 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to establish such a museum National Mall. The bill has broad bipartisan support, with 251 cosponsors. The bill number was reserved by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as a symbol of one of the most important moments in women’s history—the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919 granting women the right to vote.
H.R. 19 is based on the bipartisan report submitted to Congress by the American Museum of Women’s History in November 2016. In summary, the bill:
· 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
NEW YORK’S WOMEN’S AGENDA
This year, we will build on our progress.health, safety, workplace, girls and family life.
§ Pass the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act
§ Codify Roe v. Wade into State Law and Constitution
§ Improve Access to IVF and Fertility Preservation Services
§ Launch Multi-Agency Effort to Combat Maternal Depression
§ Establish the Maternal Mortality Review Board to Save Lives
§ Add Experts in Women’s Health and Health Disparities to the State Board of Medicine
§ Pass the Equal Rights Amendment
§ Remove Firearms from Domestic Abusers
§ End Sextortion and Revenge Porn
§ Extend the Storage Timeline for Forensic Rape Kits at Hospitals
§ Extend Human Rights Law Protections to All Public School Students Statewide
§ Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
§ Call on the New York State Common Retirement Fund to Invest in Companies with Women and Minority Leadership
§ Reauthorize MWBE Program Legislation and Expand the MWBE Program to All State-Funded Contracts
§ Increase the Number of Women on State Boards
§ Establish the Women Lead Fellowship for Women in Government
§ Close the Gender Wage Gap
§ Support Women Returning to or Advancing in the Workforce
§ Power Women-Owned Businesses by Taking Steps to Close the Financing Gap
§ Establish New York State as a Model Employer for Working Parents
§ Close the Gender Gap by Giving the Youngest Learners Access to Computer Science and Engineering
§ Launch “If You Can See It You Can Be It” A Day for Girls to See What is Possible
§ Continue the Successful New York State Mentoring Program
§ Create the “Be Aware-Be Informed” Learning Module to Empower Young People to Forge Healthy Relationships
§ Ensure Access to Menstrual Products in Public Schools
§ Invest $25 Million to Expand Vital Pre-K and After-School Programs
§ Continue the Enhanced Child Care Tax Credit for Middle Class Families
§ Establish the Child Care Availability Task Force
§ Ensure Equal Access to Diaper Changing Stations in Public Restrooms
§ Implement the Nation’s Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Policy