June 29, 2019

Duckworth Stresses Importance of Diversity in Leadership at National Organization of Black Elected Legislative (NOBEL) Women Conference in Chicago


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) participated in a fireside chat today at the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative (NOBEL) Women’s annual legislative conference and discussed the importance of diversity in government, legislation to help working families and last year’s rule change in the United States Senate that allowed parents, like Duckworth, to bring children under age 1 onto the Senate floor. The fireside chat was moderated by Tennessee State Representative Karen Camper (D-TN-87), and Duckworth was joined at the conference by Illinois legislators U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Illinois Black Caucus Chair State Senator Kimberly Lightford (IL-SD-4), Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter (IL-SD-3) and Illinois State Representative Camille Lilly (IL-HD-78). Photos from today’s event are available here.

“It’s all about representation,” Duckworth said. “The saying goes, if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu – you don’t want to be on the menu, you want to be the one dictating the menu. I’ve seen in my time in the Senate how me being a mom has changed legislation, and how me as a woman of color, as an Asian-American, bringing that experience has impacted legislation for the better.”

Duckworth has been a strong advocate for women and families during both her service in the House and Senate. In May, she introduced a package of bills to make workplaces more family-friendly, improve childcare services, make it easier for low-income and middle-class families to obtain diapers for their children and close loopholes that prevent many educational support staff from being able to take medical leave through the Family Medical Leave Act. Last October, Duckworth’s bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act, which provides nursing mothers with private, clean and accessible lactation rooms at airports, was signed into law after passing both the House and Senate overwhelmingly. Just this week, the Senate unanimously passed the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Actof which Duckworth is a co-sponsor, to help ensure new parents have access to clean and private lactation rooms when visiting federal buildings around the nation. In 2018, Duckworth became the first U.S. Senator to give birth while serving in office and successfully pushed for a historic rules change to make the Senate friendlier for working parents by allowing all Senators to bring their infant children onto the Senate floor, if necessary, during votes while their children are under the age of one.

NOBEL Women is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization primarily composed of current and former black female legislators that aims to serve as a global voice to address the myriad issues affecting the lives of women.