A key challenge for the 21st century is to improve health care, to make our workplaces more family friendly, and to stop the war on women. Those were the messages at the National Partnership for Women & Families’ Annual Luncheon, held at the Washington Hilton hotel today. The event honored Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who National Partnership President Debra L. Ness said has “truly changed our world.”
More than 1,500 guests came to hear Secretary Clinton address women’s critical importance to our foreign policy and the continuing need for advocacy to advance the status of women at home and abroad. Other speakers at the event included Ellen Malcolm, Chair of the Board of the National Partnership and EMILY’s List; Pamela Daley, Senior Vice President, Corporate Business Development, GE; and Sandra Fluke, women’s health advocate. WRC-TV’s Eun Yang emceed the event.
Ness discussed the promise of the health reform law for women and families, calling it “the right decision for America” and promising to stand up for reform no matter what the Supreme Court decides. She decried recent attacks on women’s reproductive health.
She criticized Congress for rejecting the Paycheck Fairness Act at a time when the wage gap is large and more families than ever rely on women’s earnings. She also called on lawmakers to pass legislation to address rampant pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
“We have plenty to stand up and fight for,” Ness told the crowd. “And trust me, we don’t need more overheated cable TV rhetoric about ‘mommy wars,’ or which politicians care most about women. Spare us the sanctimony and hypocrisy of politicians who praise moms and caregivers while burying every effort to help them. We need to see this talk as the dangerous distraction it is. Action and results are what we need, and what the National Partnership will keep fighting for.”