[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 41 (Tuesday, March 8, 2022)]
[House]
[Pages H1339-H1340]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                       INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
the Virgin Islands (Ms. Plaskett) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Madam Speaker, last week I shared a series of 
historical facts for Virgin Islands History Month, which falls in the 
month of March. Today, in celebration of International Women's Day, I 
proudly recognize the indomitable spirit of women from the Virgin 
Islands.
  This year, the theme of International Women's Day is centered around 
the bold hashtag ``Break the Bias.'' For decades, women have worked to 
break the bias in communities, workplaces, schools, universities. We 
learn about different historical figures in history, but often we 
forget to give recognition to the lesser-known women whose stories and 
contributions help to propel the historical narrative.
  First on my list, I want to recognize the most influential and 
enigmatic writer of Harlem Renaissance, Nellallitea, or as she was more 
commonly known, Nella Larsen. With a father from the Danish West 
Indies, what is now the Virgin Islands, while working as a nurse and 
librarian, she wrote two instant success novels, Quicksand in 1928, and 
Passing in 1929, which made its screen debut on Netflix in 2019. Nella 
was the first African-American woman to receive the prestigious 
Guggenheim fellowship award for creative writing.

  Also on my list is an individual who has a series of firsts for 
Virgin Islanders, Ruby Rouss. Ruby Rouss was a Crucian known for 
breaking the bias throughout her short life journey. She broke the mold 
for what was considered possible for women during her time and was the 
first of many things:
  She was the first female member of the drill team at Fort Dix in New 
Jersey.
  She was the first Black woman to be permanently assigned to the staff 
of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  Parole officer, probation officer, legislator, leader, Ruby Rouss was 
a woman who advocated for those most in need, spoke out against 
injustice, and was true to her belief that women belong in politics.
  My very own chief of staff, Angeline Muckle-Jabbar, comes from a long 
lineage of powerful women from the Virgin Islands. One such woman in 
her family was Ann Marie Shrader from St. Croix, who was at the 
forefront of pivotal changes that were taking place in the 1970s at the 
FBI National Academy. She was one of only two women to graduate from 
the academy in 1972.
  And, of course, bringing it forward, I would be remiss if I did not 
include the Virgin Islands' very own Aliyah Boston who, through her 
excellence in the NCAA women's basketball league, continues to break 
the bias. Aliyah posted a record-breaking 23 consecutive double-doubles 
this season. Miss Boston's team, the South Carolina Gamecocks, are 
currently the number one overall seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament.
  All of these women faced deliberate or unconscious bias, and yet they 
prevail. As a Black woman, I think about my own mother and all the 
mothers who, every day even when it wasn't common to work, they 
sacrificed, occupied spaces where they were underrated, 
underappreciated, marginalized.

[[Page H1340]]

  Women continue to face tremendous obstacles across a number of 
spheres. For example, managerial and leadership positions continue to 
be male dominated, with women holding approximately 27 percent of 
managerial roles. In the business world, on average, women hold 19.7 
percent of corporate board seats. Of that number, 6.7 percent are 
chairs, and only 5 percent are CEOs.
  The importance of representation for women in leadership, politics, 
law enforcement, and across every sphere is evident. In politics alone, 
evidence shows that more women in public decision-making and public 
policy produce policies that benefit women, children, and families in 
general. Loans given to women's businesses exponentially support 
families and communities. We need women.
  On this International Women's Day, I pay homage to the women who have 
come before me and the ones who stand beside me, and I send special 
prayers and strength on International Women's Day to the women of 
Ukraine, those fighting on the front line, those bringing support and 
comfort to children and elders and bringing them to safety, all of the 
women in Ukraine, especially today.
  Let us all continue the great work to break the bias and advance the 
cause of women's rights in our communities, our government, and our 
world.

                          ____________________