Rep. Loretta Sanchez – IWD 2014

lorettasanchez103th International Women’s Day Conference – February 27, 2014

CONGRESSWOMAN LORETTA SANCHEZ:

Thank you.  First of all, let me tell you how exciting it is to see all of, not just your panelists who are going to be delivering some really inspirational and informative comments, but just to see all of you here.

You know, it is so important for the members of Congress to see women, to see women here. Now, we’re 17 percent over there in the House of Representatives.  They’re scared about that. (Laughter.)

But we have got a lot more women that are running on both sides of the aisle, I might add, and we’re hoping we can get some of you that are so interested in these issues to help.

As you know, I’ve been working a lot on the human trafficking issues not just here but internationally.  Here on the domestic side, getting women in combat, getting women their just recognition in the military, on the military, this whole issue of sexual assault.  So we have work obviously here in the United States.

But, in particular, many of you know that I’ve been working for a long, long time on the issue of women in Iran.  I think I mentioned I’m actually on the official blacklist.  Not that they let US Congress people in Iran, but if they did they would still put me on the black list I’m sure.

I would like to say two more things:  We see every day a degradation and a disrespect of women. We see a disrespect of human rights with respect to what is going on in Iran.  That we should have our journalists, and I call them ours because when women report they report for human kind.  We just see things in a different way and it’s important to have those very brave journalists getting information out.  And it’s a shame the type of imprisonment, the type of tragic, tragic things that they do to our journalists. And, of course, recently we see even more and more crack down on the assembly of women for any particular reason in particular in Iran.

So I think they need to know, and believe me they know, you cannot imagine, I don’t know how it happens, but sometimes I get emails, I get faxes to my office from the women within Iran telling me, “you go girl and you keep it up.”  Because if we do it from here, they will feel more empowered to do it their own communities.

So, thank you, ladies, so much, for being here, for expressing what we need to have happen and the women of the Congress are behind all of you, that’s for sure.  All of you.  This is not about parties, this is not about politics, this is about sisterhood. So thank you so much for being here today.

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