Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) was joined by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Council Members Gale Brewer, Letitia James and Margaret Chin and many women leaders, including Liz Abzug, President of Bella Abzug Leadership Institute; Kathy Bonk, of Communications Consortium Media Center; Zenaida Mendez, President of NOW-NYS; Marilyn Abalos, of New York Women's Agenda today, today, on Women's Equality Day, near Washington Square Park, to announce and celebrate Congresswoman Maloney's new and improved Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which, for the first time, would include women in the U.S. Constitution. They also joined together to kick off Congresswoman Maloney's day-long Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk tour.
"On Women's Equality Day -- marking the date when women got the right to vote -- we still have unfinished business. While we've come a long way, gender discrimination continues to be a significant hurdle for women in insurance, employment, family law and other areas. It's long past time for us to pass an Equal Rights Amendment. Today's ERA would prohibit gender discrimination and, for the first time, would explicitly mandate equal rights for women," said Congresswoman Maloney.
Congresswoman Maloney introduced the ERA (H.J. Res. 56) on Aug. 1, 2013, and has introduced a version of the ERA nine times, in every Congress since 1997. This ERA is different, though -- it's designed for the 21st Century. This ERA expressly puts women in the Constitution for the first time. The ERA has 94 co-sponsors and enjoys bi-partisan support.
Congresswoman Maloney and her friends and supporters continued the Congresswoman's Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk tour, with today's announcement of the re-introduction of a new ERA. The day started early with an advisory breakfast that focused on the ERA and progressive policy and legislation aimed at advancing women's rights. After the press conference, Congresswoman Maloney and many of the women's leaders will be going on a guided walking tour of sites significant to women's history, in New York City and nationally. Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk will end with Congresswoman Maloney ringing the Closing Bell of the New York Stock Exchange.
The elected officials, supporters and women leaders, many of whom attended today's press conference, had the following to say:
"The time for equal rights is now," said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "Women's Equality Day is a stark reminder that despite the enormous strides our nation has made since the women's suffrage movement, we still have a long way to go before all people are granted equal protections under the law. I thank Congresswoman Maloney for reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment and for her staunch advocacy on behalf of all Americans."
"To continue our country's progress on women's rights, we need a constitutional guarantee of equality. Congresswoman Maloney has worked tirelessly in Congress to make this happen, and I've introduced a resolution in the City Council in support of her efforts," said Council Member Jessica Lappin.
"The fight for women's equality is ongoing, and this amendment celebrates how far we have come while recognizing how far we have yet to go. By placing women in the Constitution, the Equal Rights Act codifies protections against gender discrimination and levels the playing field in a number of different arenas, including education and the workforce. I thank Congresswoman Maloney for her unwavering commitment to building up a generation of strong, empowered women in a fair and just society," said Council Member Margaret Chin.
"I join Congresswoman Maloney and my colleagues in supporting her re-introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment because I believe that the struggle for equality is not just about economic justice, or gender justice, but about all people whose voices, talents, and ambitions are unjustly limited. On the local and state levels we are working together to change both the law in its statutes, but also the unwritten law; the law of custom, and its resistance to change. As women, we know a lot about the unwritten law. It has stood between us and equality since ancient time. Today we continue that fight for equal pay, and paid sick time, and opportunity in business, and on this Women's Equality Day I join with women everywhere who say: this struggle is about who we are now, it is for all those who came before us, and it is why we will never rest until each of us is equal under all laws of our land," said Council Member Gale Brewer.
"The time is now to pass an equal rights amendment that guarantees real equal rights for women and puts an end to all form of discrimination based on gender. It is unfortunate that Congresswoman Maloney needs to reintroduce the Equal Rights Amendment, session after session. Women have played a staring and supporting role in our nation's history, but women are still treated as second class citizen. Women continue to make significant contributions to everyday life in New York City and this country. Let's pass the Equal Rights Amendment so women can have guaranteed equal protections under the Constitution," said Council Member Letitia James.
"Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, a clear an unequivocal statement in our Constitution guaranteeing equal rights for women, is long overdue. It is an embarrassment for our nation that gender equality -- equal rights for more than 50% of Americans -- remains omitted from our Constitution. The lack of the ERA will continue to undermine our standing as a nation that's truly committed to freedom and equality for all," said Congressman Jerry Nadler (NY-10), a co-sponsor of the ERA.
"Today on WOMEN's Equality Day we all stand together to say: 'We must pass the Equal Rights Amendment now!!' Women across the United States are tired of waiting and excuses and we demand that the Congress act now to pass the ERA . As women we are half of America's citizens and more than half of the voters in our country, so we must finally achieve equal recognition and equal rights under the U.S. Constitution. No more waiting, no more excuses!! Congress must pass Congressswoman Carolyn Maloney's bill H.J. Res. 56, the reintroduction of ERA, now!" said Liz Abzug, President of Bella Abzug Leadership Institute.
"The United States will be a global model when it passes the Equal Rights Amendment," said Zenaida Mendez, President of NOW-NYS.
"Today we celebrate Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women's right to vote. That was in 1920. As we reflect on how far we've come and how far we have to go, there could not be a more opportune moment to re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment," said Joan Malin, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City. "With women's health being rolled back in states across the country, the time to ensure social and economic equality for women is now. I thank Congresswoman Maloney for continuing to lead, not only for the women of New York but for the women of this nation."