The When Women Succeed, America Succeeds bus kicked off a nationwide tour on Sunday in Seneca Falls, at the site of the future home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Martha Robertson, the Democratic candidate for the House, was on board, along with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York’s 20th, Rep. Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, Rep. Doris Matsui of California, and Rep. Nydia Velasquez from New York’s 12th. “Women on a roll” was their motto.” Here are some great photos of the event.
Speakers recalled the bravery of the women and men who came to Seneca Falls in 1848 to issue the Declaration of Sentiments demanding equal rights and the vote for women. Martha led the crowd in reciting the fundamental tenet of that Declaration:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”
Martha noted that seventy years of struggle had been required after the Seneca Falls convention to win the women’s vote, and that the right to equal pay had still not been achieved.
Martha and other speakers called for equal pay for equal work and raising the minimum wage, which at its current level of $7.25 per hour confines so many women to lives of poverty and anquish. Much of that anguish arises from the high cost of child care, and from the lack of paid maternity leave or paid parental leave when children are sick. Ours is the only industrialized country that lacks paid maternity leave. Rep. DeLauro urged support for the FAMILY Act, which she has co-sponsored with our own Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. This legislation would assure that no mother would have to choose between earning a critical day’s pay or caring for a sick child.
Martha, whose candidacy was warmly endorsed by Slaughter and Pelosi, pointed out that our current congressman, Rep. Tom Reed, poses a serious obstacle to progress on women’s issues.
Reed has voted to keep the Paycheck Fairness Act from being considered in the House and opposes increasing the minimum wage. The chances of his ever supporting the FAMILY Act are vanishing to none. Martha, on the other hand, will be a tireless advocate for equal pay, affordable child care, raising the minimum wage, and other reforms that will help struggling women in the 23rd and around the country.