Mikulski inducted into women's Hall of Fame
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, along with Billie Holiday and former Health and Human Services Department Secretary Donna Shalala, were inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Mikulski was among 11 inductees, including five who were honored posthumously. The hall is located in Seneca Falls, N.Y., which hosted the 1848 women's rights convention that helped to spark the women's suffrage movement in the U.S.
“As we celebrate the story of Seneca Falls, we also celebrate the history of America. We celebrate the history of our social movements that have grown to guarantee the rights of women, African Americans, and of working people," Mikulski said during her address. "As we study our history, we realize how much these movements have in common."
Mikulski, 75, became the longest-serving female senator in the Senate's history this year, surpassing the record set by Margaret Chase Smith. A Republican from Maine, Smith served in the Senate from 1949 to 1973. The self-styled "dean of the Senate women," Mikulski is using her tenure to help get other female lawmakers reelected to Congress next year.
As part of her work on women's issues, the Baltimore native added language to the 2010 health care overhaul that required insurance companies to cover the cost of some preventative health services for women for free. This year she rallied Democratic lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol in opposition to proposed cuts to Planned Parenthood. She was an architect of legislation signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 that makes it easier for women to sue their employers for equal pay.
The law was named for Lilly Ledbetter, an Alabama woman who tried to sue Goodyear for unequal pay but whose case was dismissed on a technicality. Ledbetter was also inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame on Saturday.