Who run the world? Girls. That was the message in Times Square Friday morning as Rep. Carolyn Maloney, joined by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and a contingent of women leaders, rang the opening bell at Nasdaq.
Maloney (D-12th District) and a group of 40 women representing businesses, nonprofits and government were invited to ring the bell ahead of Women’s Equality Day on Saturday, which commemorates the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
“It is thanks to the persistence of fearless women, like those standing here today, that we are able to celebrate Women’s Equality Day,” Maloney said at a news conference outside the Nasdaq building after ringing the bell. “Each year, we take a moment to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment, granting half our population one of the most fundamental democratic rights.
“Nearly a century has passed, and women now enjoy opportunities that our mothers and grandmothers only dreamed of, but we still do not have full equality under the law,” she added.
Maloney, who represents Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, is pushing for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment as well as the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, which would create a museum dedicated to women’s contributions to history on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The bill, specifically given the number H.R. 19 as a nod to the 19th Amendment, has majority support in the House of Representatives, according to Maloney’s office, with 246 bipartisan co-sponsors.
New York has deep roots in the fight for women’s equality, dating to the Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848. Hochul noted New York passed women’s suffrage three years before the rest of the country.
“On Women’s Equality Day, we celebrate the accomplishments of the women who led the fight for equality, setting the stage for future battles against workplace discrimination, in support of pay equity, and to preserve a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care,” Hochul said, adding that the fight to create a culture of respect and inclusion for women continues. “Gender equality is a cause we are called to champion throughout our lifetime.”
The passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would guarantee equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex, is an important step in achieving a more level playing field for women, said National Women’s Political Caucus President Donna Lent.
Lent, who was also invited to Nasdaq Friday, said true women’s equality is “just an illusion.”
“We live in a tenuous time,” she added. “The only way to ensure our daughters, wives and sisters are protected is the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment which elevates women to the same class as men. An ERA that guarantees equal rights for all people; rights that can’t be stripped away by an executive order.”
The Equal Rights Amendment dates to 1923 when Alice Paul introduced the “Lucretia Mott Amendment,” which proposed to mandate that the United States government give equal rights to men and women, according to equalrightsamendment.org, which is run by the Alice Paul Institute.
A reworded version of that amendment was passed by Congress in 1972 as the Equal Rights Amendment. However, it failed to meet the seven-year deadline for state ratification.
Despite the setback, the ERA is not dead. A coalition of supporters revived the push for the amendment’s passage, and continues to do so today.