Recognizing the rich contributions that so many women have made to the fabric of New York's history and culture, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Chair of the Women's Legislative Caucus Michelle Titus today recognized the celebration of Women's History Month during the month of March.
"Women in our state have a history of unwavering strength and tireless advocacy in their fight to entirely alter outdated perspectives of what women can't do, forever making their mark on our state's history," said Silver. "The Assembly Majority has made it a top priority to advocate for the rights of women and will continue to do so. During our work to ensure that the Women's Equality Act finally becomes law, I have seen the strength of New York's women and have been reminded time and again the role that they have played in making New York such a progressive state. For all the women who have stood up and fought with us to end the inequalities and injustices they face today, and for all the women before them who battled similar obstacles and overcame them, we celebrate Women's History Month this March."
"We must remember that it is due to the unwavering dedication of millions of women generations before us that all women in the Assembly and throughout America can hold positions of authority and leadership. I am fully committed to making sure that women are not treated as second class citizens. I will continue to work with my Assembly colleagues to urge the Senate to pass the women's 10-point agenda," said Titus.
Each year, the Assembly celebrates the women in New York who have taken great strides, overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and left their footprint in the shaping of the state - and the country's - history.
The state of New York has long been a stronghold of support in the pursuit of full women's equality. In 1826, New York State opened one of the first public high schools for girls, opening doors to education and resulting in a future for women in which they were no longer confined to the home. And in 1848, Seneca Falls, New York became the sight of the first women's rights convention, in which women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony led the fight for women's suffrage. And one year after women were granted the right to vote, in 1918, the first two women, Ida Sammis and Mary Lilly, were elected to the New York State Legislature.
History was made again in 1968, when New York State Assemblywoman Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress and once more in 1972, when she ran for President of the United States. In 1970, New York City was the site of the first Women's Strike for Equality in which 50,000 people marched for equal rights.
Today, 45 women serve in the New York State Legislature, holding leadership positions in both houses.