Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Honoring International Women’s Day and ‘A Day Without A Woman’
Contact: Drew Hammill/Caroline Behringer, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined the Democratic Women’s Working Group and House Democrats on the East Front Steps of the Capitol to honor International Women’s Day and ‘A Day Without A Woman’. Below are the Leader’s remarks.
“Hello again. As I begin, again let me say how proud I am to be with my colleagues on the steps of the Capitol and in solidarity with our Members who are inside on the Energy and Commerce Committee, on the Education and Labor Committee and on the Ways and Means Committee, fighting to protect the Affordable Care Act, because we believe that health care is a right for all Americans, not a privilege for just a few.
“They send you good regards as well, as well as our colleagues on the steps. And I also want to salute the Members of the Congressional staff who have joined us here today, and for all the work that they do. Let’s hear it for the staff of congressional [offices]!
“To all of the people who have joined us and to all of you across our country and across the world, it is an honor to join you for A Day Without A Woman. How appropriate that it is Women’s International Day, as well. And since it’s International Women’s Day, I want to just tell you: from time to time in my capacity as Speaker of the House and then Leader, people will say to me, ‘If you were control of everything in the world, what one thing would you do to make the future better?’ ‘That’s an easy answer, the education of girls.’
“The education of girls so that they can succeed, so that they can provide for their families. The respect that it commands for them; to respect their intellect and their decisions about the size and timing of their families. So much goes into the word of respect – education, family planning, and the rest.
“So here we are today. This is a day that is very interesting because we are observing the 100th anniversary of the first woman elected to Congress – Jeannette Rankin of Montana.
“It’s pretty exciting, women in America did not have the right to vote yet, in Montana they did, and they sent a woman to Congress. And she made a difference here and she said at the time, ‘I may be the first woman in Congress, but I know one thing for sure I will not be the last.’ And she certainly has not been, but we want more. Nothing is more wholesome to the political process of the governance of our country than the fuller participation and leadership of women. Okay, you can applaud that.
[Laughter and applause]
“I said to the women in the march – and aren’t we proud of the march and all that it engendered throughout the world? – I said to the women, ‘You have marched for progress. Now you must run for office.’
“So as we try to protect a woman’s right to choose, the education of women, the full participation in not only politics and government, but in every aspect, every aspect of the life of a country and the society.
“We know one thing for sure: that When Women Succeed, America Succeeds. And when women succeed, as my colleague said, the world succeeds. We can do that again: when women succeed, the world succeeds.
“So here we are, A Day Without A Woman – just imagine what that would be if we could take it to its fullest extent. We never want to find that out because women’s contribution is so valuable. I’m so proud of the presentations our Members have made. And Congresswoman Barragán is a Freshman Member of Congress. She’s been a Member for about two months.
“I just want to also acknowledge the work of our colleague, Frederica Wilson. Every Wednesday, we dress in red, we stand on the steps or inside, depending on the rain, to remember our girls. To Bring Back Our Girls. She observes International Women’s Day every day, and so do we. And I want to acknowledge her leadership in that regard. I know my colleagues do as well.
“So we don’t want the world to know A Day Without A Woman, but we want people to understand what that day would be like. And it would not be a day that takes us to our fullest aspirations for the future, for our children, for the future that we envision for them.
“So, I’m proud to stand with my colleagues, with the staff of the Congress, with all of our friends out there, with people across America, who are making a very strong statement. And I return to where I began with this: if I ruled the world, the one thing we would do to make the future better would be the education of girls, not just in America, but across the world – because when women succeed, the world succeeds.
“Thank you all very much for coming.”
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