About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Women in Leadership: The Impact of Women on the U.S. Congress

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
October 30, 2019

Good evening, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for this evening’s program, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through Facebook or YouTube.

We’re looking forward to lively discussion on the topic “Women in Leadership: The Impact of Women on the U.S. Congress,” with our special guests United States Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Tammy Baldwin, United States Representatives Debra Lesko and Brenda Lawrence, and our moderator, Brooke Baldwin from CNN.

Tonight’s program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of BMO Financial Group—and we thank them.

Before we begin our discussion, I’d like to tell you about two other programs coming up soon in the McGowan Theater.

On Friday, November 1, at noon, historian H. W. Brands will be here to discuss and sign his latest book, Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West.

And next Thursday, November 7, at 7 p.m., in commemoration of Veterans Day, filmmaker Ron Osgood will be here to screen his recent documentary, Just Like Me: Vietnam War Stories from All Sides. Following the screening, Osgood will be joined by historian Marc Leepson to discuss the film and answer audience questions.

To keep informed about events throughout the year, check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

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Tonight’s discussion is part of a series of programs related to our recently opened exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote.

Rightfully Hers commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment and tells the story of women’s struggle for voting rights as a critical step toward equal citizenship. The exhibit explores how American women across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, and class advanced the cause of suffrage and follows the struggle for voting rights beyond 1920.

The decades-long fight for the vote in the 19th and early 20th centuries engaged large numbers of women in the political process. Once the national vote was won, women continued their civic engagement by running for seats on county boards, statehouses, and the United States Congress.

The number of women serving today in the House of Representatives and Senate is at an all-time high, but the total is still only about 25 percent of each house.

Our distinguished guests bring their own experiences as current members of the House and the Senate to our exploration of how an increasing number of women can change Congress.

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Now I’d like to introduce Daniela O’Leary-Gill, the Executive Vice President and U.S. Chief Operating Officer of BMO Financial Group, where she oversees effective governance across BMO U.S. operations. Daniela is active in furthering causes that foster equitable opportunity and is a long-time champion for diversity and inclusion.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Daniela O’Leary-Gill.

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And now it’s my pleasure to introduce our moderator for this evening. Brooke Baldwin is a Peabody Award finalist who anchors the afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom. She is also the creator and host of the CNN Digital series “American Woman,” which focuses on the stories of trail-blazing women who have broken barriers in their respective fields and are now helping other women do the same. Baldwin came to CNN in 2008 and is often sent into the field to the biggest breaking stories in the United States and around the world. She played a key role in covering the historic 2016 Presidential election, and is pivotal to the network’s coverage of America’s Choice 2020.

Please welcome Brooke Baldwin and our panel to the stage.