U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the recession is especially hard on women, who earn less money than men for the same work.
She spoke Monday in the California Assembly during a ceremony honoring women.
The address was a sort of homecoming for the Los Angeles-area Democrat, who served in the state Assembly between 1992 and 1994. She later became the first Hispanic woman in the state Senate, where she served from 1994 until her election to Congress in 2000.
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Solis also was scheduled to meet with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and deliver an address Monday evening at a labor conference.