Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the National Women's History Museum Commission Act of 2012. I am proud to be joined in this effort by my friend and colleague Delegate ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, as well as by Senator SUSAN COLLINS.
This bipartisan bill, which has also been introduced by Senator COLLINS, creates a new commission to examine the feasibility and cost of building a National Women's History Museum, NWHM, on or near the National Mall.
This commission will be a bipartisan, eight member body comprised of two members appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, two members appointed by the Minority Speaker of the Senate, and two members will be appointed by the House of Representatives Minority Leader. All appointees will need to demonstrate a commitment to the research and study of women's history.
Most importantly, no federal dollars will be spent on this important, new museum. The work of the NWHM Commission would be paid for entirely with private funds.
Women's history has taken a backseat to the hundreds of years of written and available narrative focusing on men. Women are largely missing from textbooks, memorials, and museum exhibits. Of the 210 statues in the United States Capitol, only 9 are of female leaders. Across the country, less than 5 percent of the 2,400 national historic landmarks chronicle women's achievements.
The museums and memorials in our nation's capital reveal what we as Americans value. Today, we have museums dedicated to many important people and issues of interest, including flight, postage stamps, and law enforcement. But we still do not have a museum dedicated to woman's history and their contribution to building our great country.
A vital part of achieving equal rights for women is acknowledging and commemorating the deep and lasting impacts women have made in history. This bill would provide us with a blueprint of steps to take in order to finally honor 53% of our population. Certainly, women should be honored for their many contributions that are the very fabric of our country.
I urge my colleagues to join me in filling this void and honoring our Nation's foremothers by cosponsoring the National Women's History Museum Commission Act.