Bella Abzug always championed women’s rights, human rights, equality, peace and social justice. Abzug worked as an attorney in civil rights and labor law, working often without pay to represent the poor, minorities and those attacked by forces of repression. In 1970 she won the Democratic primary in New York’s 19th District, and in 1971 took her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Wearing her trademark wide-brimmed hat, she landed running, introducing legislation calling for an end to the Vietnam War, banning discrimination against women seeking credit, gay rights, reproductive freedom, and more. She helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus, and introduced legislation creating Women’s Equality Day. Abzug ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1976.
She continued her advocacy, playing a major role in the 1977 National Women’s Conference and serving for a time as President Carter’s chair of the National Advisory Commission on Women. At the time of her death she headed the Women’s Environment & Development Organization, part of Women USA, and worked to improve the environment.
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