By Kris Kitto - 05/21/08 06:13 PM EDT
For three years, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) lived the long-days, long-nights work schedule of many of the women she writes about in her new book, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.
She would come home after days spent on the House floor or in committee hearings to write on a subject she is known for making a legislative priority: the difficulties women continue to face in America.
The book, whose subtitle is Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting Any Easier — And How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters, hit stores May 13. Maloney will be signing copies Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Borders bookstore at 1801 K St. NW, and all book proceeds will go to organizations that advance women’s issues.
Writing a book is “far more difficult than I imagined,” she told The Hill Wednesday. But in this instance, she says her efforts were worth it.
“I think that many women think that we’ve achieved equal status with men in America,” she said. But her research showed otherwise, with working women continuing to receive lower pay than their male counterparts, running into glass ceilings in the office and having problems getting family leave from their employers, among other issues. She called these problems a more masked form of gender inequality than the “in-your-face discrimination” she saw growing up.
“I wanted to give voice to all those women who are finding that there are barriers to achieving equality,” she said.
Maloney’s book could just as easily be considered a manual for modern-day professional women looking to become what the congresswoman calls “everyday activists.” She includes a rundown of legislation Congress is considering that would affect women and provides readers with ideas for how to get involved in advocating for women’s issues.
What are those recommendations? Though it’s the congresswoman’s first book, she’s already savvy to the ways of literary marketing.
“They’re in the book,” she says, deflecting the question. “The whole book is filled with them, one right after another.”
Maloney has built her credentials as an advocate for women throughout her congressional tenure. She’s a former co-chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, and her work on the anti-rape Debbie Smith Act led to the making of a Lifetime Networks movie, “A Life Interrupted,” in which she was a major character.
Maloney said her work on women’s issues doesn’t end with this book. She’s currently working on measures to crack down on sex trafficking, make paid sick leave for families more widely available, and expand both tax deductions and credits for the cost of child care.
“The power of women, when we resolve to do something, is one thing that can never be exaggerated,” she said.