Governor Cuomo Announces Opening Of Capitol Exhibit Honoring New York Women In Recognition Of Women's History Month

Exhibit Highlights 25 Trailblazing New York Women and Century of Progress Since 1917 Victory of Women's Suffrage in New York.

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NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

Photo by: Governor's Press Office, via Flickr.

Albany, NY - March 6, 2018 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of the Women's History Month exhibit in the New York State Capitol. The exhibit, "1918 | The New Day for New York Women," celebrates and recognizes the contributions made by 25 New York women pioneers and trailblazers, each who achieved a "first" for women in the state, and champions the century of progress since women's suffrage was passed in New York State in 1917. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled the exhibit today in the State Capitol. The Governor also proclaimed Women's History Month in New York State.
"New York is the birthplace of the women's rights movement, from Seneca Falls to suffrage and beyond, and this exhibit celebrates that legacy and motivates us to continue to ensure equal rights across every area of women's lives," Governor Cuomo said. "By honoring the leadership of these trailblazing women, we will inspire the next generation of women to lead our state forward."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the New York State Suffrage Commission, said, "As the only woman State elected official and as a mother, I know the challenges women face balancing responsibilities at work and at home. We're continuing the fight for equality with the Women's Agenda and Democracy Agenda to further our goal of equal opportunities and fairness for all. For Women's History Month, we're celebrating the brave women in New York who fought for our rights and change. This exhibit highlights some of those women and reminds us of how far we've come and the work we still need to do."
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, Chair of the Council on Women and Girls, said, "While this exhibit is a testament to the incredible progress we have made to advance women's rights in New York State, we still have a long way to go until we achieve true gender equality. For our mothers and grandmothers who paved the way before us, and for our daughters who come after us, we will continue to fight for equal rights for women in policy, in practice, in the workplace and all across society."
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Our state has a proud tradition of advancing women's rights and with what is happening nationally, it again falls on New York to lead. Women's History Month is a chance to celebrate the accomplishments that have been made in advancing women's rights, and to recommit ourselves to seriously address the ongoing challenges still facing women today."
Senator Betty Little, Suffrage Commission Member, said, "These influential women serve as some of the best possible role models for New York's young girls and women. It is so important, now more than ever, that we honor those who have lifted women up and supported their vision for a fair and equal society. I implore all New Yorkers to take the time to learn more about these trailblazing women, and I thank the Governor for his dedication to furthering the rights of women in New York State."
Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Suffrage Commission Member, said, "New York has a proud history of women in advocacy and leadership positions that continues to this day. As a member of the NYS Women's Suffrage Commission, I join the Governor in honoring these women trailblazers, including so many women of color. It is so important to pay tribute to the women whose shoulders we stand on and who are currently paving the way for future generations."
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Member of the Suffrage Commission Advisory Board, said, "Our society would not be what it is today if it were not for the tireless efforts of trailblazing women who came before us fighting and advocating  for a better New York. Recognizing March as Women's History Month sends an important message and shows not only how far we've come, but also how we continue to lead the way on equal rights. Working with Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Hochul and other leaders, we will continue to build on our progress."
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Member of the Suffrage Commission Advisory Board, said, "New York has a long and rich history of fighting for women's rights, from Seneca Falls to Broome County's own "Ladies of Lisle." Florence Chauncey and 244 other women were the first to cast their ballots on January 5, 1918 after the suffrage amendment passed in 1917. I am proud and honored to work with other inspiring women as we honor and build on the legacy of these brave suffragists."
The exhibit, "1918 | The New Day for New York Women," will be on display in East Gallery off of the War Room in the New York State Capitol in Albany for the month of March. The exhibit also includes historic artifacts from the very first vote cast by a New York woman after the enactment of women suffrage. On January 5, 1918, voting in a town referendum in Lisle, Mrs. Florence B. Chauncey became the very first woman in New York to exercise her full state voting privileges. The exhibit includes the ballot box on loan from the Village of Lisle that was used in this historic vote along with a framed January 1918 Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper photo collage owned by the daughter of one of the Lisle men who handed out votes that day.
A full list of the women featured in the exhibit is available below:
  • Sheila Abdus-Salaam: the first black woman to serve on the New York State Court of Appeals.
  • Carmen E. Arroyo: the first Latina woman elected to the New York State Assembly, as well as the first Puerto Rican woman elected to any state assembly in the United States.
  • Jane Bolin: the country's first black woman judge with her appointment to the New York City Domestic Relations Court. Bolin was one of the first two black students at Wellesley College and the first black woman graduate of Yale Law School.
  • Dorothy Chin Brandt: the state's first Asian-American woman judge, as well as the state's first Asian-American elected official.
  • Bessie Buchanan: the state's first black female Assembly member.
  • Shirley Chisholm: New York's and the country's first black congresswoman.
  • Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick: the state's first Hispanic woman to sit on any court of record, the state's first Hispanic woman elected judge and the first Hispanic judge, man or woman, to serve on the on the New York Court of Appeals
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton: New York's first female U.S. Senator. In 2016, Clinton made history again when she became the first woman to gain the nomination of a major party as its candidate for president.
  • Melissa DeRosa: the first woman to ever hold the position of Secretary to the Governor, the highest unelected position in state government.
  • Geraldine Ferraro: the first woman candidate on a national presidential ticket.
  • Rhoda Fox Graves: the first woman New York State Senator.
  • Judith S. Kaye: the first woman judge on the Court of Appeals, who was then elevated to become the court's chief judge in 1993, a post she held for 15 years, longer than any of her male predecessors, until she reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2008.
  • Mary Ann Krupsak: elected as Lieutenant Governor with Governor Hugh Carey, making her the first woman elected to statewide office.
  • Mary M. Lilly: one of New York's first female attorneys, defeated a six-term incumbent to win election to the New York State Assembly in 1918, only one year after women gained the right to vote in New York.
  • Olga A. Méndez: the first Puerto Rican woman elected to a state legislature in the continental United States.
  • Grace Meng: New York's first Asian-American member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Constance Baker Motley: the first black woman New York State Senator and the nation's first black woman federal judge with her appointment as a judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Ruth Baker Pratt: New York City's first female City Alderman and the state's first woman representative in Congress.
  • Ida Sammis: one of the first two women to serve in the New York State Legislature, along with Assembly Member Mary Lilly.
  • Sonia Sotomayor: the nation's first Latina Supreme Court Justice.
  • Andrea Stewart-Cousins: the first woman to lead a legislative conference with her 2012 election as leader of the Senate Democratic Conference.
  • Katherine Wykle: the first female mayor in New York State.
  • Nydia M. Velázquez: the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Ellen Young: the first Asian-American woman elected to the State Legislature.
  • Nancy Zimpher: the first female chancellor of the State University of New York- the nation's largest university system under a single governing board.