President Barack Obama on Tuesday dedicated a national monument on Capitol Hill in honor of the people who have fought for women’s rights, calling the building a “centerpiece for the struggle for equality.”
Obama’s remarks at the historic Sewall-Belmont House and Museum—which will now be called the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument—came on Equal Pay Day, which recognizes the wage gap that persists between men and women in the work force.
“I want young girls and boys to come here, 10, 20, 100 years from now, to know that women fought for equality, it was not just given to them,” Obama said, the Washington Post reported. “I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women earned less than men for doing the same work. I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women were vastly outnumbered in the boardroom or in Congress, that there was ever a time when a woman had never sat in the Oval Office.”
Though he did not mention her directly, Obama’s comments made subtle reference to the historic nature of Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy. If elected, she would be the first female president of the United States.
The national monument has been home to the National Woman’s Party since 1929 and is now named for Alva Belmont, the party’s benefactor, and Alice Paul, the party’s founder, the Post reported.
Obama has made equal pay a priority during his presidency, signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to make it easier for employees to challenge their employers’ discriminatory pay practices.
“If you don’t believe that we’re going to close our wage gap, you need to come visit this house, because this house has a story to tell,” Obama said.