Women reps seek equality

Anna Kril (c.) accepted awards given to civic leader Eartha Washington by state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (l.) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney for Women's History Month. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) honored three women Friday for Women’s History Month and talked about what needs to be done for women to achieve true equality with men.

“In my view, we need much more than a month,” Maloney said. “We need a museum on the Mall in Washington.”

Simotas and Maloney held the ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image, at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria. They presented awards to Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood), civic leader Eartha Washington and Taryn Sacramone, executive director of the Astoria Performing Arts Center, for their contributions to western Queens.

Anna Kril, of the breast cancer support group SHAREing and CAREing, accepted the award on behalf of Washington.

Nolan said she was honored to receive her award, which was named after the late County Clerk Gloria D’Amico. She said she felt humbled to receive recognition from her peers in government.

“I really don’t feel like I’ve done half as much as they’ve done,” she said.

Washington received the Community Service Award and Sacramone the Artistic Achievement Award.

“It is incredible to be included in the company of these women,” Sacramone said, “to be honored by these women.”

Simotas said when she became a part of the Assembly in 2011, female members like Nolan helped her. Simotas said she is the first woman to be elected in her district and, as an expectant mother, is working to extend the New York Family Leave Act from three months to six.

“We are very poorly represented in the state government and federal government,” Simotas said of women.

Maloney spoke at the ceremony about the growth of Women’s History Month, and said women’s achievements are often overlooked. She said only 5 percent of the United State’s monuments document women’s successes and that she struggled for three years to get a statue of suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Staton and Lucretia Mott moved out of the Capitol building’s basement and into the rotunda.

Maloney added that since the nation’s capital has museums for everything from spies to textiles, one must be made for women.

“There is no central place that exposes our sons and daughters to the role of women in building our great nation,” she said.

The congresswoman also said more needs to happen before women have equality. Women’s wage rates are still 77 cents to every man’s dollar, women are not represented in leadership positions and the Equal Rights Amendment remains unpassed, although it was almost ratified 40 years ago.

“Although we’ve made great strides, we still have a long way to go,” Maloney said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 12:00 am, April 1, 2012
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