Let’s celebrate Women’s History Month and work to achieve full equality
With March marking Women’s History Month, it provides the opportunity to reflect upon the strides made by women, and the progress still to be made on the path to equality.
For example, even in 2015, many women still don’t earn equal pay for equal work. In fact, women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns and it’s time for this to change. Over the years, New York State has played a leading role in the fight for equal rights. We can and should continue leading the way.
Throughout history, New Yorkers have been at the forefront of the women’s equality movement. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a key figure in the fight for women’s suffrage, drafted the Declaration of Sentiments for the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, and both Stanton and Susan B. Anthony’s efforts were crucial in winning women the right to vote.
New York has also been home to many other pioneering women. Louise Blanchard Bethune, born in Waterloo and raised in Buffalo, was the first American woman to work as an architect. Dorothy Thompson, born and raised in Lancaster, was a prominent journalist who became one of the most influential women of her generation.
In 1870, Susan Smith McKinney Steward, a Brooklyn native, became the first African-American woman to earn a medical degree in New York State and the third to do so in the country. Gertrude Elion, born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, was a biochemist and pharmacologist who developed drugs to treat malaria and leukemia and won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1988.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another Brooklyn native, became the second woman on the Supreme Court. In 2001, Hillary Clinton became New York’s first female U.S. Senator. She was a candidate for president in 2008 and was appointed U.S. Secretary of State in 2009. Sonia Sotomayor, born and raised in the Bronx, was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009, becoming its first Hispanic and third female justice.
These women are only a few examples of New Yorkers committed to breaking down barriers and achieving full equality.
Nonetheless, there is still much to be done in securing equal rights for women. That’s why I have supported legislation that guarantees essential rights for women, including equal pay for equal work, an end to sexual harassment and family status and pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, stronger human-trafficking laws, and better protections for victims of domestic violence.
I look forward to continuing to support public policies that ensure New York grants women equal opportunities and rights. To learn more, please contact my office at 718-236-1598 or email me at [email protected].
Assemblymember William Colton represents the 47th A.D.
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