Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright Hosts Celebration of Women’s History
By Kisa Schell
Recently, an outstanding cohort of women were honored at the Women’s History Month Awards Ceremony in New York City, hosted by friends of New York Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. The honorees receiving the inaugural Carolyn B. Maloney Leadership award were LBGT rights activist Edie Windsor, Senior Vice President of Emblem Health Lorraine Cortés-Vásquez, Managing Partner of Latham and Watkins LLP Michele Pinzer, Chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Jill Lafer, Vice President of Government Affairs at Verizon Leecia Eve, and President of Kasirer Consulting LLC, Suri Kasirer.
The award, named after the esteemed New York Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, recognized the outstanding efforts of women who have made a difference in their respective fields. Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright succinctly summarized the intention behind the awards ceremony: “In March, we celebrate remarkable, powerful, high profile women who are making strides and breaking down barriers for generations of women to come.” Upon presenting namesake Congresswomen Carolyn B. Maloney with her award, Seawright stated: “ I can think of no better way of celebrating Women’s History Month than by honoring America’s congresswoman, a tireless advocate for women’s equality. It is sobering to realize that this fight has been going on in this country at least since the 19th century. In 1880 when defending the passage of the 16th Amendment, which more than 40 years later would give women the right to vote, Susan B. Anthony said ‘The theory of this government from the beginning has been perfect equality to all people. Yet you and I know that 176 years later, perfect equality still does not exist for women or many others. Making this point, United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has commented, ‘Every constitution written since the end of World War II includes a provision that ‘men and women are citizens of equal stature in hearts and mind.’ Congresswoman Maloney has been a leader in the efforts to pass an equal rights amendment to the United States constitution. In fact, she has introduced the ERA every single year that she has been in public office and she has been in public office 34 years. She is just getting started.”
In her speech, she also explained the need for more women to work together and demand respect and recognition for their efforts in their respective fields: “One day, my daughter Haley opened up a fortune cookie and it said “Behind every great man is ambition. Ambition equals great leadership.” And she asked me, “Mom, how does that fortune include me?” So I made a promise to my daughter and to women across New York State when I was sworn in that I would do everything in my power to fight for women’s equality. Females are underrepresented and underpaid in every field. We represent 57.2% of the work force. The statistics are alarming; in New York, women earn $.84 for every dollar a man makes. We need increased transparency so that equal work equals to equal pay.”
The speeches that followed echoed a similar sentiment, celebrating the accomplishments of powerful women and the need for greater awareness of the inequality that occurs between the genders every day. As we celebrate the accomplishments of successful women today, we must also look towards the future and demand greater equality for future generations. #