Last week we celebrated Women's Equality Day, and we were pleased to welcome Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Congresswoman Speier, a 1968 graduate of Mercy High School Burlingame explained to the girls that a joint resolution was passed in 1971 by Congress granting this date be established to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
Jackie brought out various items, and asked the girls to guess if the price was the same for the same product, and the girls found out that they weren't – and she explained that she is working on repelling the "Pink Tax" – which refers to the extra amount women are charged for certain products or services. Things like dry cleaning, personal care products and vehicle maintenance.
Congresswomen Speier explained to the girls how important this is, and that although we have come a long way, with our rights and privileges, including the right to vote and Title IX for women's sports, that unfortunately we still have a ways to go – especially in the area of equal pay for equal work.
Congresswomen Speier then introduced Phyliss Gould, one of the original Rosie the Riveters. Phyliss now 95, told her story and explained that she was one of the first six women welders to be hired by the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, Calif. There she and many other took over the job previously occupied by the men called off to WWII and not only did they do the same work, but they did get equal pay – so it can be done, we just have to make sure that equality happens for all. She is currently
very involved in the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond and one of the last items on her bucket list is to have a National Rosie the Riveter Day, which Congresswomen Speier has agreed to help her obtain!
At the end of the rally – Congresswomen Speier introduced her daughter Stephanie Sierra '12 who also told the girls to enjoy their time at Mercy as it will go way to quickly and encouraged them to always follow their dreams!