Women have been elected to Congress today in record numbers, including Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Sylvia Garcia from Houston. I feel inspired and hopeful that these empowered women will influence our government policies and our country with wisdom and compassion. I am grateful to these women for stepping forward to serve, and to all those men and women who worked so hard to get them elected.
IWY Conference - Houston - November, 1977
Forty-one years ago this month I photographed the Year of the Woman Conference in Houston. 25,000 women gathered to collectively craft a vision of a world where the needs of all would be met - including women, children, minorities, the elderly, the disabled. Delegates worked tirelessly to create policy recommendations that addressed reproductive rights, child care funding, sexual orientation, education reform, environmental protection, nuclear disarmament, and the Equal Rights Amendment. Photo © Janice Rubin
The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by both Houses of Congress in 1972, and was eventually ratified by 37 states. However, 13 states refused to ratify. Only one more state would have been needed to make the 38 states (three-fourth’s) required to make the law designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. Many states have since created their own laws providing equal protection.
My grandmother told me how overjoyed she was when women first received the the right to vote in 1920. Now almost 99 years since women began to vote, 99 women will be heading to Washington to represent us. Today’s success by women being elected to Congress is the next step in the transformation of our country into a more fair and just nation where all are respected.