House and Senate pass resolution to honor Colorado Women’s History Month

Senate Joint Resolution 11-029 was passed on Thursday by the Senate and House. The resolution was read, one paragraph at a time, in the Senate by its 17 women legislators, and on that day with the absence of two of their male colleagues, the women outnumbered the men 17-16.

The chamber broke out in laughter when Senate President Brandon Shaffer asked for the vote on the resolution, hinting that no man should dare NOT to vote for it, and one legislator suggested calling the two members absent to get their votes.

In the House, the resolution, one paragraph at a time, also was read by that body's 24 women legislators. WHEREAS, American women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth and strength of our nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways, especially in the areas of political and social change; and

WHEREAS, The United States boasts a rich history of women whose vast and courageous achievements speak to the sense of excellence and potential shared by all Americans; and

WHEREAS, Our country would not be where it is without the strength, bravery, insight, and persistence of the women who have come before us; and

WHEREAS, American women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural, political, and social role in every sphere of the life of the nation by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home as everything from educators to astronauts; and

WHEREAS, American women have been leaders, not only in securing their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial labor movement, the civil rights movement, and other movements that create a more fair and just society for all; and

WHEREAS, Women have not only played a critical economic, cultural, and social role in our society, but women have also permanently changed the face of American government and politics; and

WHEREAS, In 1893, Colorado was the first state to give women the right to vote through popular vote, and a year later Colorado was the first state to elect women to the state legislature; and

WHEREAS, The first women elected to the Colorado General Assembly were Clara Cressingham and Frances S. Klock, both from Arapahoe County, and Carrie C. Holly from Pueblo County, and Carrie C. Holly has the distinction of being the first woman in United States history to initiate and get a bill passed; and

WHEREAS, Two hundred twenty-two women have served in the General Assembly since 1913, when Helen R. Robinson became the first woman to serve in the Colorado Senate, and 31 of those women have served in both the House of Representatives and the Senate; and

WHEREAS, Today, women legislators play a vital role in addressing difficult social and economic issues and helping our country and the state of Colorado prepare for the future; and

WHEREAS, In 2011, Colorado has the highest percentage of women serving in a state legislature at 41%, while the national percentage of women legislators is 23.4%; and

WHEREAS, Colorado has 41 women serving in the General Assembly, which is the largest number of women in the legislature in Colorado’s history; and

WHEREAS, Such contributions and leadership in areas that help women improve their lives and the lives of those around them led the United Nations, in 1975, to designate March 8 as International Women’s Day, and led the United States Congress, in 1987, to designate the month of March as National Women’s History Month; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-eighth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein: That we, the members of the Sixty-eighth General Assembly, hereby declare the month of March 2011 Colorado Women’s History Month in recognition of the struggles, accomplishments, and contributions of American women throughout history.

Be It Further Resolved, That copies of this Joint Resolution be sent to Governor John Hickenlooper and to each member of Colorado’s congressional delegation.