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Honoring Women Legislators

This post is part of “Celebrating Women: Past, Present & Future,” the League’s series honoring Women’s History Month.

Yesterday, the League of Women Voters joined with Rachel’s Action Network (RAN) to host a breakfast honoring the women of the U.S. Congress. In the past few years, we have teamed up with Rachel’s Network to host events that have provided the League with opportunities to honor the work and accomplishments of women in elected office. Rachel's Network, founded in 1999, is a nonprofit that promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth.

This session was exceptional in that we gathered a room full of accomplished women in their own right from around the country to listen and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our nation and families including climate change, pay equity, health care, voting rights and campaign finance reform. We agreed that these issues impact not only women’s lives, but the lives of their families as well.  And I emphasized the importance of women registering and voting – in order to make their voices heard on the issues and to their elected representatives.

The event, Celebrating Women Senators, was designed as a platform to welcome all the women serving in the U.S. Senate and we were pleased to be joined by Senator Kay Hagan (NC) and Representative Donna Edwards (MD). Fittingly, March is Women’s History Month which provided the perfect backdrop for our discussion.

Senator Hagan spoke to participants about the need to preserve environmental protection and voting rights.  She talked of the collaborative efforts of the twenty women Senators of both parties to work together to find overlapping issues of concern and to discuss areas where they diverge. Senator Hagan also described the successful efforts of women Senators to move the budget debate forward this fall. She concluded by urging women of all ages to consider running for office.

Representative Edwards addressed the gathering about her passion for the health of the environment as well as her work to help improve the standing of all women. Achieving equal pay for women in the workforce and deeper and continued investments in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs in education are just two areas that Edwards raised as pivotal to making progress for all in this nation.

Although the morning gathering was brief, we added many things to our “to do” lists, some new and some not so new. The session came to a close and as we filed out of the historic Sewall Belmont House, we were all left with a sense that while we have come a long way – there is still so much to be done.