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Public Statements

National Women's History Museum

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. LUMMIS. I thank the gentlelady from Tennessee and New York.

The gentlelady from New York mentioned the name of a woman who, at The New York World, was a trailblazer for women journalists. Today, my daughter, a journalist, a graduate of Columbia's Pulitzer School of Journalism, is a journalist at The New York World; and without that kind of leadership on the part of women, we wouldn't have the opportunities for ourselves and our children to lead. That is why we need to memorialize what women have done, so women and young girls can envision themselves in these roles.

I was recently in Moscow, and we toured the Museum of the Cosmonauts there, and the efforts the United States has currently with Russia, Russia now leading the international space station, so we can continue those efforts. We met with an American woman astronaut and a Russian male cosmonaut. We were led on this tour, and you could see the little kids flock to them as heros. Well, women and girls need role models. The women in this room are role models.

All of us here this evening are at an age when we remember what it was like not to have intermural women's sports in high school, what it was like to have to wear skirts to high school and to junior high and grade school, not even having the opportunity to wear pants. I remember when I applied for my first job, I was told that we are not going to hire a woman to be an agricultural loan officer because men don't like to ask women for money--and it was legal. It was legal for them to say that to me in a job interview, and they hired the man instead of me.

Well, it just made me mad, and it made me determined. I know by looking at the ages of my colleagues here this evening that you each had similar experiences somewhere in your careers. Our own daughters can't even imagine being told that. This is recent history. These are the kinds of stories that we need to be able to share, what we even went through.

It is a recent history, and it is a long-fought battle. That is why I am so proud, so proud, A, to serve with these wonderful women Members of Congress today who are leading this effort, so proud to be a woman Member of this institution, and, B, so proud that you are going to leave this legacy that will create and memorialize the history of women in the United States in order to provide an exemplary and visionary picture for our own daughters, granddaughters, and Americans long after we are gone.

Thank you so much to the gentlelady from Tennessee, to the gentlelady from New York, to the wonderful woman from Ohio with whom I served on the House Appropriations Committee. You are fine leaders, exemplary women. I have great respect for the work you are doing this evening.


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