Former CO Rep. and Feminist In Congress Patricia Schroeder Dies at 82

“Pat Schroeder for US Congress campaign button Colorado 1970s” by Mpls55408 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Former U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder, a pioneering advocate for women’s rights and family rights, died in Florida last night. She was 82 years old. The Democrat served Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives for 24 years and is being remembered as a trailblazing leader.

Pat Schroeder was first elected to Congress in 1972 and over the next nearly two and a half decades became an influential member. In one major achievement, she championed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which protected the jobs of those taking time off to care for a newborn, a sick child, or a parent.

In a 1992 interview with KGNU, a year before the act passed, Representative Schroeder explained why it was so important: “All the work and family issues impact on women the most, because women are the caregivers in most families, and we have a workplace that just doesn’t recognize caregiver roles at all. In fact, you’re penalized, if you have to be a caregiver.”

She earned a degree from Harvard Law School, and after leaving congress became a law professor at Princeton University.

Governor Jared Polis said Pat Schroeder broke barriers with her leadership.

A former press secretary said she recently suffered a stroke and died in a hospital in Celebration, Florida.

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To listen to the full 1992 interview with Rep. Pat Schroeder from the KGNU Archives: