Women's History Month is a time to celebrate the many amazing women throughout history. Notables, like Marie Curie, who is the only woman in history to be awarded two Nobel Prizes, one for Physics in 1903 and the other in 1911 for Chemistry1; Dr. Shirley Jackson, the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in nuclear physics at MIT, who is also currently the 18th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York2; and Indira Gandhi, the first woman prime minister of India3; are all exemplary of the tenacity and strength women even in the face of sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny rampant in our society.
I am constantly reminded of the struggle of women, especially when I notice I have to work twice as hard as my male counterparts do, says Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, the first Haitian-American woman elected in New York City. I'm extremely aware of it when I hear about glass ceilings and salary disparities between men and women. We cannot have a just society when the needs of more than 50% of the population go unanswered. Its discouraging, but my colleagues and I wont stop fighting for equality and womens rights until we see significant change.
As a result of the election a few months ago, the government has enjoyed a record amount of women occupying offices. In the Assembly, Member Bichotte is joined by her friend, now colleague, Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus, who ran a formidable campaign. In the Senate, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the first woman to be the Majority leader. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest politician to be elected to the House.4Â Before the 2018 election cycle, women had never held more than 84 seats of the 435 seats in Congress. Now, there are over 100 seats occupied by women.5Â
The #MeTooMovement, initiated by Queens-native, Tarana Burke, founder of Just Be Inc. and Senior Director of the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Girls for Gender Equity, is one of the latest movements surrounding the treatment of women and gives new impetus to the fight for womens rights. The movement has been dutifully raising awareness of sexual harassment and assault in workplaces and elsewhere, providing justice for victims and serving as a warning to other aggressors.
The Assembly continues to make headway for womens rights even in the midst of a hostile federal administration. In the spirit of Roe v. Wade, the House passed A00021, or The Reproductive Health Act. Now law, it makes updates to New York State code that hinders access to safe and legal abortions. Assemblymember Bichotte has also introduced the noteworthy, A02770, or the Jonah Bichotte-Cowan Law, which ensures that expectant mothers who are at risk or concerned about pre-term delivery are fully informed on the matter, their rights and mandated insurance coverage for hospital stays.
Assemblymember Bichotte will also be hosting her annual Women of Distinction Award Ceremony on March 14, 2019, celebrating women who have made a difference in her district and the greater community. For more information regarding this event or to find out more about the fight for women's rights, please don't hesitate to contact her District Office at 718-940-0428.