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NY Leaders Mark Women's Equality Day, Say More Needs To Be Done

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Scores of powerful women gathered on the steps of City Hall to mark the 96th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

The women wore big, colorful, floppy hats to honor late New York Congresswoman Bella "The Hat" Abzug, who was known for her headgear. Abzug was leader of the Women's Movement and sponsored legislation designating Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day.

Bella Abzug
FILE: Bella Abzug (1920 - 1998) on the 50th anniversary of women winning the vote in the United States. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

"We need to get a woman elected president, we need to get 50 percent of the congress women, I mean the senate and the house," her daughter, activist Liz Abzug, said. "We need to get a woman mayor in this town, we've never in New York City had a woman mayor. We need to get a woman governor!"

A number of speakers also made it clear it's time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution, which was first proposed in 1923.

"It is up to you to work with us to complete the fight for full gender equality and that is for young women, for young men, and old men and older women together," Abzug said.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said women over 75 have twice the chance of living in poverty as do men of the same age.

"The only way that we could correct this in my opinion is passing the Equal Rights Amendment," Maloney said. "Inequality will persist if we do not act."

Public Advocate Letitia James said women now represent the strongest voice in the political system, but there is still work to be done.

"Together we broke ceilings and together we defied stereotypes and together we have set precedent and together we will make history," James said.

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