Today, while signing an executive order creating the Council on Women and Girls, President Obama specifically cited Frances Perkins:
In the end, while many of the challenges women and girls face are new, the work of this Council is not — it’s been with us for generations. Frances Perkins, who was President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, and the first woman to serve in the Cabinet — a great hero of the New Deal — described it well when she said, “I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the rights of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats.” To sit in the high seats.
The rest of his remarks are equally interesting. Go to Lynn Sweet’s The Scoop from Washington to read them and see some photos. Here’s another quote that I liked especially:
That, above all, is the true purpose of our government. Not to guarantee our success, but to ensure that in America, all things are still possible for all people. Not to solve all our problems, but to ensure that we all have the chance to pursue our own version of happiness. To give our daughters the chance to achieve as greatly as the women who join us today. That’s the impact our government can have.
Frances would have liked to hear those words. I sure did.
[Click on the video to watch it.]