Representative Joe Baca (D-CA) introduced an amendment last week to posthumously award Alice Paul, a feminist pioneer, the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed by Congress. Paul was a leader of the movement to win women’s suffrage and the author of the Equal Rights Amendment, which she worked tirelessly to pass until her death in 1977.
Rep. Baca introduced the legislation on January 11, the 122nd anniversary of Paul’s birth. As of last Thursday, 45 members of Congress had already signed on as co-sponsors, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). A similar bill was introduced by Rep. Baca in the last Congress, but was never brought to the floor for a vote. Last year’s bill garnered 167 co-sponsors and support from major women’s organizations, including the National Organization for Women and the National Council of Women’s Organizations, of which the Feminist Majority is a member.
“Just last week we celebrated Nancy Pelosi becoming the first women to become Speaker of the House. This notable achievement was made possible because of pioneers such as Alice Paul,” said Rep. Baca. “Those of us who already know of Alice Paul’s contributions are eager to bring greater awareness and appropriate recognition of her legacy. But the American public knows far too little about her… Alice Paul’s birthday is a good time to get our message out and an appropriate day to introduce this legislation.”
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