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First Lady Chirlane Mccray Delivers Remarks at March for Gender Equity and Women's Rights with U.N. Women in Celebration of International Women's Day and Beijing+20

March 8, 2015

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

There’s something special in the air today. Can you feel it?

No, I’m not talking about spring. That’s coming, but today I’m talking about history.

Today, you are marching in the footsteps of generations of feminists—many of whom called New York City home.

Did you know International Women’s Day started right here in 1908? It’s true! 15,000 women marched through these streets, demanding better pay, voting rights, and shorter work hours.

A lot has changed since 1908, but New York is still a pioneer in women’s rights.

Last November, we became the first U.S. city to join the Safe Cities Global Initiative and commit to keeping all of our public spaces free from sexual harassment.

And that’s just the beginning! If there’s one thing you should know about my husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, it’s that he is a true believer when it comes to women having power.

As a father, Bill played an active role in helping me raise two fantastic young people. Our daughter, Chiara, is a loud-and-proud feminist who is taking Women and Gender Equity classes in college. And our son, Dante? He’s a feminist to the bone!

As Mayor, Bill has launched groundbreaking initiatives that are already un-stacking the odds that have held women back for far too long.

I’m talking about universal pre-K, paid sick leave, and our Office to Combat Domestic Violence, which served more than 36,000 people last year at their Family Justice Centers.

Of course, that’s just the beginning. This march started more than a century ago, but we still have a long way to go before we get to equality.

But we’re gonna get there—I know it! Today, we make history. Tomorrow, we start making a brighter future—for our mothers, for our sisters, for our daughters, for ourselves, and for our families.

Thank you! Have a great march!

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