Washington, D.C. – In 1987, Congress declared March to be Women’s History Month. Since then, our country has come together and celebrated the accomplishments of women in America. The female leaders we celebrate this month have relentlessly engraved an impression of strength in the face of adversity that will inspire young girls to achieve their full potential.

Throughout history, women have battled for the right to participate in our democracy, culminating with the 19th Amendment bestowing on women the right to vote. Yet since Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1917, not even 300 women have served in the House. While women make up half of our population, we constitute barely 20 percent of U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators.

Additionally, women earn 77 cents for every dollar that their male colleagues earn in the workplace. Though we have made great strides towards paycheck fairness in 2009 with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, clearly we must go further, because when women succeed, America succeeds.

As a woman who has contributed to the American workforce while raising a family, I have advocated for equality for all women. As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am committed to improving services for female veterans and am continuing to fight for equal pay for equal work.

Although there is still much work to be done, this Women’s History Month we thank the great women in history for their accomplishments. From Harriet Beecher Stowe to Clara Barton to Susan B. Anthony to Amelia Earhart to Rosa Parks to Sally Ride, we honor their legacy by writing our own chapters as we strive toward a more perfect, inclusive, and equitable union.

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