Blue Room Washington D.C. August 18 9:19 A.M. EDT
Good morning everybody. Thank you very much for being with us. This is a big day in many ways — many, many ways. The First Lady and I are delighted to welcome the members of Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission to the White House to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote. That's something.
I want to thank the commission members who have worked tirelessly for three years to tell the very powerful story of America's suffrage and America's suffrage movement.
I'd like to introduce the women that have done such an incredible job for a long period of time. Jovita Carranza, SBA Administrator. Jovita?
Right behind you. (Laughter.)
She's the biggest banker in the world right now. (Laughter.) Even though it says "Small Business," it's a big business, right?
Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation.
Right here, Mr. President.
Great job. Thank you very much.
Anna Laymon, executive director of Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission. Thank you very much. Good. Great job. Oh, you're going to be so happy in a little while — (laughter) — because we're giving you a very special treat that you don't know about. Even you don't know about it. You know everything, you people.
Cleta Mitchell, attorney, former member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. A great attorney, I might add. Beyond — beyond an attorney. A great attorney. Okay? I know that for a fact. Thank you, Cleta, very much.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. You are going to be so happy —
I can't wait.
— in about seven minutes. You won't even believe it. (Laughter.)
Karen Hill, CEO of the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park.
Congratulations. Great. Great job you do.
Penny Nance, president of the Concerned Women of America.
Hi. How are you? Thank you.
Heather Higgins, president of Independent Women's Voice.
Thank you, sir.
Hi. Hi, Heather. Thank you. Congratulations.
Debra Steidel Wall, Deputy Archivist of the United States. That sounds like a very big job. (Laughter.) That's a lot of archives, isn't it? (Laughter.)
How many buildings does that take up, right? Great. Great job. I hear you do a great job. Thank you very much.
Colleen Shogan, Deputy Director, National and International Outreach for the Library of Congress. Fantastic.
That's another big one, right?
That's great. Congratulations. That's beautiful.
Susan Combs, Assistant Secretary of Policy Management and Budget at the Department of Interior. Thank you very much. Great job.
Thank you all very much.
Today, I'm honored to sign a proclamation celebrating August 18th, 2020, as the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In the summer of 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood before the first-ever women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, and declared that women should enjoy this fundamental civil right. What a job she did.
Seven decades later, the suffrage movement succeeded. On this day in 1920, the United States ratified the 19th Amendment. It was a monumental victory for equality, for justice, and a monumental victory for America.
Today, a record-breaking 131 women are serving in Congress. Nearly 70 million women vote in elections. Fifty-six percent of our nation's college students are women. More than 11 million women own successful businesses. In other words, women dominate the United States. (Laughter.) I think we can say that very strongly.
Before the China virus set in and struck our nation, women had gained 4.3 million jobs — a record. The women's unemployment rate had plummeted to the lowest level in more than 65 years. And last year, over 70 percent of the new jobs went to women. And I will say we're coming back very strongly, and we're going to see those numbers again very soon. But the numbers that we have for unemployment and employment, frankly — we had 160 million people working. We've never even been close to that. And by next year, we'll be even higher than that number. Tremendous things are happening.
As we fight to deliver a better future for all women and for all Americans, we remember the wonderful victory, one century ago. While I am President, America will always honor its heroes, and we will always celebrate the patriots who secured women's right to vote. So this is an incredible document that I'm signing.
And I wanted to just add something because this was brought up a week ago, and I was so surprised that it was never done before. Because later today, I will be signing a full and complete pardon for Susan B. Anthony. (Laughter.) She was never pardoned.
Did you know that? She was never pardoned. (Applause.) What took so long?
And you know that she got a pardon for a lot of other women, and she didn't put her name on the list. So she was never pardoned —
— and we're — for voting. That's right. (Laughter.)
She was guilty.
That's right. She was guilty for voting. And we are going to be signing a full and complete pardon.
And I think that's really fantastic. Right? She deserves it. (Applause.)
So thank you all very much. And let us sign, and we'll do the other signing later on. It's being prepared right now, and I look forward to doing it.
Thank you very much. Please.
(The proclamation is signed.) (Applause.)
So let's take these and hand these out,
honey. Thank you.
This is much better than signing one letter at a time. (Laughter.) Did you all see what those signatures look like?
They're not — they're not good. They're not good. So thank you all very much.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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