Rep. Duckworth on Women's History Month
Hello, I'm Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and I represent Illinois' 8th Congressional District. This March, please join me in recognizing the extraordinary contributions women have made throughout America's history by celebrating Women's History Month. Women's History month is an opportunity to recognize both how far women have come and how much work we still have left to do to provide equality for all Americans. There are currently 98 women in Congress, the most in American history. Women are filling leadership roles in the public and private sectors like never before. As the only female Congresswoman to have seen combat action, I was inspired to see that the Pentagon has finally recognized that America's daughters are just as capable of defending liberty as her sons, and has lifted combat restrictions on women. Last week, I was proud to vote for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which stands up for all Americans who are victims of Domestic Violence. We should be thankful to all the women who made this progress possible and take pride that our country is moving in the right direction on women's rights. Still, there is much work left to do. Right now, millions of women are at risk because dramatic budget cuts went into effect on March 1st that will reduce critical investments in small business, health care, medical research, education and child care assistance. Sequestration will disproportionately hurt women and it is imperative that Congress find a bipartisan solution to reverse these cuts. In the Army, I earned equal pay for equal work. I moved up the ranks and the pay scale, side by side with my male peers. Yet, in America women still make only 77 cents for every dollar made by men. This is why I am a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help women fight pay discrimination. Despite gains in recent years, America ranks 94th worldwide in terms of representation for women in legislative bodies. We even have a lower percentage of women in the United States Congress than there are women in Afghanistan's National Assembly. Thousands of American women still have great difficulty finding access to quality healthcare and reproductive care. I know that I could not have seized the opportunities this great nation provided had I not had control of my own reproductive health. While the challenges facing us are still great, we need to look no further than courageous leaders such as suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, civil rights hero Rosa Parks, and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm to know that change is possible when we stand together and demand justice. Our nation will never be able to achieve what it is truly capable of until women have full equality. Now, it's time for all of us to follow in the footsteps of those women who sacrificed so much for our country and to do whatever is in our power to make sure that our daughters have every opportunity they deserve.