WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today released the following statement in celebration of National Women’s History Month:

 “This month we celebrate the achievements of women who put conviction before convention in the fight for suffrage, equality, and liberation from the confines of old traditions that made women second-class citizens.  

“This Sunday will mark the 100th Anniversary of the Suffrage Procession when 5,000 women marched up Pennsylvania Avenue demanding the right to vote. The suffragists who mobilized in Washington that day were up against groups like the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage who, in 1917, argued in a letter to Congress that passing the 19th Amendment would be ‘an official endorsement of nagging as a national policy.’

“I keep an original copy of that letter framed and hung on the wall of my office right next to the 1871 petition to Congress from suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The comparison is a bittersweet reminder that the early suffragists did not live to enjoy the victory of the 19th Amendment and the great transformation that followed.

“They would be proud today to know that in the 2012 elections, women made up 55% of the voters. In addition to high turnout, we are breaking records as office holders with 101 female U.S. Senators and Representatives in Congress, and at the state level with five Governors and 11 Lieutenant Governors.

“Today’s women leaders are breaking the glass ceiling in ways that our grandmothers would find hard to believe, but there is still work to be done. With our votes and voices, we must continue our fight for equal pay for equal work, fair access to affordable healthcare and family planning, protection from domestic violence, childcare, and other policies that ensure women are treated fairly under the law.

“This month, I am looking forward to meeting with women of all ages to celebrate our pioneers of equal rights and also to discuss the challenges that we must address in order for women to have an equal seat at the table – whether it is in the board room, the school room, or the living room,” said Speier.