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Women Who Worked on the Home Front World War II Memorial Act

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 1, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I thank Chair Grijalva for taking the Women Who Worked on the Home Front World War II Memorial Act through committee and bringing it to the floor. I appreciate that he allowed me to sit in and ask questions, and he conducted a hearing and pressed it forward quickly.

Mr. Speaker, this bipartisan bill would authorize the establishment of a memorial on Federal land here in the District of Columbia commemorating the efforts of 18 million American women who kept the home front running during World War II. Women are dramatically underrepresented in our memorials.

A 17-year-old constituent of mine, Raya Kenney, the founder of the Women Who Worked on the Home Front Foundation--yes, her own foundation--came up with the idea to honor the women on the home front who supported the World War II effort. Raya wondered why the women on the home front, whose efforts were so instrumental in maintaining the stability of the country during World War II, have not received much recognition for their contributions compared to the men who fought bravely in World War II.

This bill would authorize the Women Who Worked on the Home Front Foundation to establish a memorial to honor these women. The memorial is designed to be interactive and to educate visitors on the important roles women played during World War II. No Federal funds would be required.

Between 1940 and 1945, the percentage of women in the workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent. And by 1945, one in four married women worked outside the home. The work done by women on the home front opened doors for women in the workplace generally and had a profound effect on the job market going forward, and even up to today.

As a result of their efforts, women on the home front redefined many occupations that were especially considered men's work.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.

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