WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Flanked by women in white, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Tuesday marking the 100th anniversary of women being able to vote in the United States.
The celebration of equality and justice for women also included Trump announcing a pardon for Susan B. Anthony, who was convicted for voting illegally in 1872. Anthony is best known for her role in the movement to secure voting rights for women, and was also known for her anti-slavery activism.
Trump brought the movement full circle by stating that a record-breaking 131 women serve in Congress today, and that nearly 70 million women vote in U.S. elections.
The Small Business Administration’s administrator Jovita Carranza echoed the president’s comments and stressed the importance of voting for women.
“If any of the women are hearing me now, I’m going to hold you responsible for going out and voting because it so critical,” she said Tuesday.
California congresswoman Jackie Speier said that progress took sacrifice and added that it is important to recognize what the suffragettes went through.
“For over 70 years they fought to get women the right to vote,” said Speier. “They were chastised, they were imprisoned, they were pelted with rotten eggs, they were sexually assaulted.”
More work lies ahead for equal rights for women, who still earn about 80 cents for every dollar that white men earn for the same work. And for women of color, the earnings are even less. Speier said ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment is the first step in leveling the playing field.
“I’ll give you an example,” she said. “Peggy Young was a UPS employee for ten years [and] gets pregnant. The accommodation was not to lift more than 20 pounds and her supervisor said, ‘We can’t handle that you have to take a leave of absence.” She added that men with health conditions at that same company were treated differently and the ERA would prevent this type of discrimination.