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Hoyer Remarks at Women’s Equality Luncheon

CLINTON MD – Today Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) hosted women business and community leaders for an annual luncheon to mark Women’s Equality Day.  Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery: “We come here today to celebrate Women’s Equality Day. We are joined by a wonderful keynote speaker Ms. Tina Tchen who serves as Special Assistant to President Obama and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. She is also Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls in the Obama Administration. She’s an outstanding public servant and I know we all look forward to hearing from her. “Joining me today are several prominent elected officials from all counties of our District. And in the audience we are joined by business owners community activists political staff health care professionals legal minds and almost all of whom are also women. It is a sign of progress that we are able to host such a gathering with so many prominent attendees. “Women’s Equality Day is not just about the history of one gender. As Gloria Steinem has said ‘being a feminist means seeing the world as a whole not a half.’ When we celebrate the accomplishments of half of our population we are celebrating our society as a whole. This day might be also aptly named Human Equality Day. “The arduous path towards equality is not a mystery to anyone in this room. There is likely not a woman in this room who could not point to a story from her own work history schooling or even family life when she had to fight against the outmoded notions of gender stereotypes. “But with strength determination and leadership we have arrived at this day when we can celebrate our society’s progress reflect on the work ahead of us and learn from a woman who is one of the highest ranking members of a presidential administration. “We have come to this point because of the accomplishments of generations of activists for equality and we owe them our gratitude—just was we hope to act in such a way that future generations will look back on us with gratitude as well. “In August of 1920 women were not suddenly given the right to vote. It had been a generations-long struggle a victory that was truly earned. “Women who are lawyers women who are doctors women who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives—no one gave them these roles. They were earned. And when we celebrate the accomplishments of the feminist movement we are celebrating the principle that all Americans deserve the equal opportunity to earn achieve and make the most of their God-given talents. “The theme for today’s lunch is ‘Success in Today’s World.’ This is a broad theme and we all have our own ways of measuring and conceiving of success. We all have our own definitions of what success means. But one thing is certain about success: it is earned not given. Our nation benefits when women push themselves to the front lines of achievement. Our world benefits when it can make use of the whole of human talent ingenuity and innovation not just half of it. “I am proud to be a member of a party that has done so much to advance the cause of equality and that is so committed to finishing the work of equality. I’m proud that advancing equality and opportunity is at the heart of Democrats’ agenda. That’s why we passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act so that women can secure equal pay for equal work. That’s a reason why we passed the Affordable Care Act which ends the discrimination on the basis of preexisting conditions including even pregnancy that has driven women’s health care costs up. That’s why we’ve fought against the divisive social agenda of some in this Congress—at a time when getting our economy going again matters far more to Americans than refighting the culture wars. And that’s why we’ve worked so hard to push the Make It In America plan a legislative program to revive American industry and create well-paying jobs which means more opportunity for all Americans. “I’m proud of all of these efforts. Government can’t create success or legislate success—but when we break down barriers to equality and create the conditions for opportunity when we help Americans from all walks of life unleash their talents we will all be amazed with the results. The successful women with us here today are proof of that.” Civil Rights and Equality