Former US Representative Pat Schroeder, a vocal feminist icon during her 24 years in Congress, passed away on Monday night at the age of 82.
Schroeder recently suffered a stroke and died in a Florida hospital.
She represented a House district in Colorado and was remembered for her leadership in women’s and family’s rights.
Her unorthodox style of legislating involved publicly calling out congressional colleagues and was cost-effective, leading to her never being appointed to lead a committee.
However, she did file an ethics complaint against House Speaker Newt Gingrich over the claim that the free cable time he received was an illegal gift under House rules.
Schroeder was the first woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and one of her biggest legislative wins was passing a family-leave bill that provided job protection for care of a newborn, sick child, or parent.
Schroeder’s confrontational style of legislating did not deter her from speaking out against both Republicans and Democrats.
She accused committee chair F. Edward Hebert, a Democrat from Louisiana, of forcing her and US Rep. Ron Dellums to share a chair on the House Armed Services Committee because he believed the committee was no place for a woman or an African American.
One of her most famous retorts was when a congressman asked how she could be a mother and raise two small children, to which she replied, “I have a brain and a uterus, and I use both.”
She was also the first person to label President Ronald Reagan the “Teflon” president for dodging blame for major policy decisions.
After she retired in 1997, Schroeder wrote a book titled “24 Years of Housework … and the Place is Still a Mess.
My Life in Politics” that detailed her frustration in the male-dominated field and how change in federal entities happened at a slow pace.
Despite retiring, she remained politically active, mentoring candidates and campaigning for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Schroeder is survived by her husband, two children, brother, and four grandchildren.