Image, Pocket Congressional Directory, 84th Congress
A nine-term Representative, Katharine St. George of New York fought for equal pay for women in the workplace.
On this date, Representative Katharine St. George
of New York was born in Bridgnorth, England. First elected in 1946, St. George served 18 years in the House of the Representatives, rising into the GOP leadership and becoming the first woman to serve on the House Rules Committee. Though she spurned the feminist label, St. George became an outspoken advocate for women's economic equality, coining the phrase “equal pay for equal work.” At the core of her work on this issue was an abiding conviction that if women were to achieve equality and fully participate in American society, they needed a base of economic strength. St. George persevered, and her 1959 proposal to outlaw sex discrimination in the payment of wages became law in the form of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. “What you might mean by ‘equal rights' might be totally different to what I believe is ‘equal rights,'” St. George said. “I always felt . . . women were discriminated against in employment . . . I think women are quite capable of holding their own if they're given the opportunity. What I wanted them to have was the opportunity.”