Congresswoman Maloney: Women Have to Work Twice as Hard—In Heels

April 24, 2014 | by lauren sherman | Women of Influence

The North Carolina native talks to Gotham about her greatest achievements and goals for the future.  

Carolyn B. MaloneyCongresswoman Carolyn Maloney on the Upper East Side, not far from her Manhattan headquarters.

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney represents New York’s 12th congressional district, an area spanning most of Manhattan’s East Side, Randalls Island, and parts of Queens and Brooklyn. She has spent her 21 years in Congress focusing on issues close to her heart as a New Yorker and a woman, including the prevention of sex trafficking, post-9/11 restructuring, and personal finance.

Is it easier for a woman to rise up the ranks today? 
I remember that remark about how Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backward, and in high heels. And she was paid half as much. If you study statistics, discrimination is still there.

You arrived in New York in 1970 from North Carolina. What made you stay? 
The excitement, the people, and the opportunities. We’re a city that does not care where you came from. We want to know what you can do. Often the challenges the world and our country confront percolate first in New York.

What was the one decision that put you on the right career path?
Marrying my late husband, Clifton Maloney. We supported each other. It made everything else easy. My most important career decision was just to work hard.

What would you consider your best achievement to date?
The passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights [in 2009]. Everybody told me it would never succeed, and it would hurt me politically.

What are the biggest challenges facing New York in the next five years, and how will you tackle them?
We know homeland security is vital to New York. And I do a great deal of work on infrastructure because it not only has good union-paying jobs for people, but it also [fuels] the economic vitality, the innovation, and the efficiency of New York.

This interview is part of a spotlight Q&A series in our May/June issue feature on "The 50 Women Who Run New York." 

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