Florence P. Dwyer

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Florence Dwyer

Florence Price "Flo" Dwyer (July 4, 1902 - February 29, 1976), born Florence Louise Price in Reading, Pennsylvania, was an American Republican Party politician and U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 6th and 12th Congressional Districts. She was the second woman to be elected to the United States House of Representatives from New Jersey, the first being Mary Teresa Norton, who was also elected from the 12th district. She was the first woman from New Jersey to be elected to the House as a Republican. Dwyer was an advocate for women's rights throughout her political career.

Dwyer went to public school in Reading and Toledo, Ohio after moving there. Dwyer later moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey. She took courses at Rutgers Law School and became State Legislation Chairman of the New Jersey Federation of Business and Professional Women.

Dwyer served as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1944 and 1948. She was then elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, where she served from 1950 to 1956. Assemblywoman Dwyer introduced the Equal Pay for Equal Work bill, which was passed in 1952. The bill criminalized "discrimination in the rate of wages on the basis of sex" and later became a model for federal legislation.

In 1956, Dwyer was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the first of eight terms. In 1962, she co-sponsored the Equal Pay Act, which was passed the following year. In 1970, she helped Representative Martha W. Griffiths to bring the Equal Rights Amendment to the floor of the House after it had stalled in committee decades earlier. The amendment, originally drafted by Alice Paul in 1923, passed in the House and Senate, but its deadline for ratification passed without approval by the required number of state legislatures. The ERA has since been reintroduced dozens of times without success.

Dwyer was not a candidate for reelection in 1972. She retired to Elizabeth where she died in 1976. Her body is interred at St. Gertrude’s Cemetery, Colonia, New Jersey.

Quotations[edit]

  • "A Congresswoman must look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, speak on any given subject with authority and most of all work like a dog." - On gender in politics[1]
  • "Passage of a meaningful equal pay bill will end a long and unfortunate pattern of discrimination against women and it will place the Federal Government in the same desirable position as the 20 states which have enacted equal pay laws. It will help all areas of the economy, men as well as women, by stabilizing wage rates, increasing job security, and discouraging the replacement of men with women at lower rates of pay." - During the Congressional debate on the Equal Pay Act[2]

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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harrison A. Williams
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 6th congressional district

1957 – 1967
Succeeded by
William T. Cahill
Preceded by
Paul J. Krebs
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th congressional district

1967 – 1973
Succeeded by
Matthew John Rinaldo