Pat Schroeder tells League of Women Voters in St. Pete that women should organize

04/29/14 Crystal Farina
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Tags: Pat Schroeder, LWV, League of Women Voters, women's issues


Flickr/League of Women Voters of California LWVC

Pat Schroeder was the first woman elected to Congress in Colorado in 1972. She advocates for more female representation in the US.

Schroeder accepted an award from the League of Women Voters at the St. Pete Yacht Club on Saturday.

Women got the right to vote in Colorado in 1893. But it wasn’t until 1920 that the amendment was nationally ratified. When Schroeder began her tenure in Congress in 1972, she sponsored the Equal Rights Amendment, which legislated that all Constitutional rights be applied to both genders. The ERA was ratified by 35 states during the early to late 1970s. A select few attempted to rescind their votes for the amendment, afterward. Out of the 15 remaining states, 9 partially approved it, but 38 states were needed for it to become law.

She was also an advocate for voting, military and women’s rights in the workplace.

”Nebraska just became the 18th state to win online voter registration. And it’s a modern day, why can’t we do online voter registration? Eighteen states have now done it, it would seem to me that Florida would be a perfect state for that type of thing.”

Schroeder was influenced by Ruth Bryan, the South’s first female member in Congress.

“She got there and the incumbent wouldn’t leave the seat. He said that she had given up her citizenship because she had married a foreign national. Now actually until women got the vote in 1920 and finally got the law changed (because of the League of Women Voters), women did give up their citizenship, right? So she had to go into court to prove that the law was now different and it took her a year before she was finally allowed to sit in her seat. Now that’s our heritage.”

Women’s presence in U.S. federal and state legislatures was higher in 1998 than it is now. The International-Parliament Union ranks the U.S. House and Senate 98th in the world for female representation. According to The Nation magazine, female state legislators are just below 25 percent.

“We really have to tell our daughters and granddaughters about that and young women and get them organized and get out there because I think we’re missing those kind of stories.”

Schroeder lives near Disney in Celebration and is a League of Women Voters board member.

“Good government is so hard.

”We’ve also got this horrible problem of money. Money, money, money, money. We have 5 judges that seem to be ruling the country and they all have a whole new vision: money is speech.”

”Every person who gives you $5 or $10 has 5 or 10 friends.”

“We got to teach these young people there are new ways we can do this and you’ve got to get out and do this and take this government back.”

Schroeder continues to support women in building their political careers through League of Women Voters.

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