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New exhibit details a century of NY women in politics

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EAST HARLEM, Manhattan —Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the Women’s March over the weekend. It was followed by the ERA Coalition Fund for Women's Equality fundraiser at the Museum of the City of New York, which gave people a chance to focus on a century of New York City women in politics and how to get them more involved.

The evening started with a tour of the exhibit, Beyond Suffrage. There were pictures of suffragettes from when women finally got the vote in 1920.

A few years later, in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced and almost a century later, the ERA still hasn’t passed.

“We need it to help women, for legal reasons. The #metoo movement isn’t in the courts, it’s in the media,” Jessica Neuwirth, president of the ERA Coalition, told PIX11. “We need stronger laws for women."

Well-known New Yorkers including Elizabeth Holtzman, the youngest women ever elected to Congress at age 31, was touring the exhibit. She was elected in 1972.

“There were only 17 [women in Congress] when I arrived and now there are  over 100 in the House and the Senate, but it is still not enough,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman served alongside the first black woman elected to Congress, Brooklyn’s own Shirley Chisholm.

“She coined the phrase, ‘if there isn’t room for you at the table, bring your folding chair,’” Kimberly Peeler-Allen, co-founder Of Higher Heights, told PIX11. “Women, and particularly women of color, have to bring their folding chairs."