Delegate Kathy Tran’s Statement on the Equal
I was honored to celebrate Women’s Equality Day by kicking off VAratifyERA’s statewide campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment with a showing of Iron Jawed Angels. I was joined by my co-host Senator Scott Surovell, actress and activist Alyssa Milano, elected officials from Northern Virginia, and many constituents and neighbors from our community.
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26th, the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment which granted women the right to vote. The 42nd State House District has significant ties to the suffragist movement. It is the site of the former Occoquan Workhouse where the imprisonment and inhumane treatment of ERA author Alice Paul and other suffragists became a pivotal turning point in the suffragist movement, leading to passage of the 19th amendment. I am proud that this site will be the future home to the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. The memorial will honor these incredibly brave and resilient women and will educate and empower new generations of girls and women.
We continue to take inspiration from the persistence of the suffragists as we fight for equality for all women, including women of color, immigrant women, trans and queer women, and working women. Recent months have been a period of historic gains for women in the Commonwealth: the November 2017 General Election ushered an unprecedented level of female representation and diversity into the House of Delegates, and I am proud to be the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to state government. Passage of medicaid expansion brought access to healthcare to hundreds of thousands of Virginian women. In Congressional races across our Commonwealth and the country, women are running in numbers never before seen.
However, many challenges remain along the path to full equality: For example, women do not receive equal pay for equal work. In Virginia, women are paid 78 cents for every dollar men are paid, and women of color experience more significant pay gaps. Women’s access to healthcare and our ability to make decisions about our own bodies is continuously threatened and eroded. The #MeToo movement shines a bright light on the sexism and misogyny women face in workplaces and public spaces. And women experience severe domestic violence and intimate partner violence at alarming rates. These are only a few examples of why now, more than ever, it is imperative that we enshrine equality for all women in the US Constitution.
When women are treated equally, everyone benefits. We are at a new pivotal turning point in the movement for women’s equality. Virginia is poised to be the 38th and final state needed to ratify the ERA. Our Commonwealth is specially situated to do so because we have already enshrined similar protections for women in our own state constitution. Join me today in ensuring that Virginia stands on the right side of history by getting involved in the VAratifyERA movement.
Kathy KL Tran represents the 42nd District in the Virginia House of Delegates located in Fairfax County. As Delegate, Kathy works to strengthen our public schools, build a competitive workforce, honor our veterans and military families, expand access to affordable health care, advance commonsense gun safety policies, stand up for women, protect our environment, and create a welcoming and inclusive community where all Virginians can thrive.