Washington, D.C. – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that she will testify at a hearing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 in support of the National Women’s Rights History Project Act (S.1816), a bill which she introduced last year that is presently before the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks (http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=279333&&).
The National Women’s Rights History Project Act is designed to provide Americans with the opportunity to learn more about the heroines who fought tirelessly to secure women’s rights in the United States. The hearing which is being held by the Subcommittee on National Parks, comes on the heels of 160th anniversary of the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, which took place on July 18, 1848.
Pending the support of the Subcommittee, the bill will then be placed on the legislative calendar for a full Senate vote. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY-28) introduced the companion bill in the House last year.
“The 160th anniversary of the Women's Rights Convention gives us a unique opportunity to reflect on the struggles of the past and the progress we have made in the decades that followed. The National Women’s Rights History Project Act will help provide Americans with the opportunity to learn more about these heroines who rejected the status quo and who fought tirelessly to secure women’s rights in the United States. From the first women’s rights convention in 1848, New York has played a marquee role in the suffragist movement. This bill gives us a remarkable chance to not only celebrate the role women have played in building a better world, but to also to promote the heritage of a region that has played a key role in the history of our state and our nation. I am excited about this next critical step, and I look forward to doing all I can to ensure that we pass this bill to honor the brave women who have sacrificed so much so that we may all live together as equals,” said Senator Clinton.
The purpose of the Subcommittee’s hearing is to receive testimony on National Women’s Rights History Project Act (S.1816), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to:
- Establish an auto route linking New York State sites significant to the struggle for women’s suffrage and civil rights. The route would be administered as part of Women’s Rights National Historical Park, and the National Park Service would work to promote historically significant locations along the route. To that end, the Park Service would support the development of a guidebook, a signage system, indoor and outdoor exhibits, and interpretive and educational programs to enrich the experience of visitors.
- Expand the National Register of Historic Places' online database dedicated to women's history, Places Where Women Made History. The website currently lists locations of historical importance throughout the United States. Rep. Slaughter and Sen. Clinton's legislation will support a collaborative effort incorporating the input of state historic preservation offices nationwide so that a more comprehensive listing of women's history sites can be provided online, along with new and relevant information concerning them.
- Require the Department of Interior to establish a partnership-based network to offer financial and technical assistance for the development of educational programs focused on national women’s rights history.
Senator Clinton has long been an advocate of women’s rights and the promotion of New York’s unique place in the history of women’s and workers’ rights. In 2003, Senator Hillary Clinton joined with Representative Slaughter introduced the Votes for Women’s History Trail Act, with the goal of creating a National Park trail in upstate New York that would link the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls/Waterloo, the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, the Matilda Joslyn Gage House in Fayetteville, and nearly 20 other locations.
Since her time as First Lady, Senator Clinton has worked to promote awareness of women's history in New York State and beyond. For example, she has proudly supported the Kate Mullany House in Troy, New York. In 1864, Ms. Mullany and 200 of her fellow female laborers organized the first women's labor union in the U.S., the "Collar Laundry Union." They successfully launched a strike for an increase in pay, and the Collar Laundry Union continued as an influential regional force. Senator Clinton was successful in having the Kate Mullany House dedicated as a National Historic Site in 2004.
In 2003 Senator Clinton secured $11,750 for the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY. The funds were made available under the Senate FY '04 Interior Appropriations Bill. The amount was equivalent to the additional amount of widow’s pension that Harriet Tubman should have received from Jan 1899 to March 1913 under various laws authorizing a pension for the death of her husband, Nelson Davis, a veteran of the Civil War. The funds were aimed at preserving and maintaining her home and to honor her memory.
Senator Clinton was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005 and has recently worked to secure preliminary congressional approval of $250,000 for the restoration of the historic Seneca Knitting Mill, the future home of the National Women's Hall of Fame.