With the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, the fight for women's rights in America reached a new milestone. But it didn't take long before women came under attack again. In just the last few months, far-right conservatives have launched attacks on reproductive rights, access to contraception, equal pay, and equal treatment for women in the workplace, the public sphere, and the home.
These attacks have generated renewed energy around the fight for women's rights, from access to healthcare to equal treatment under the law. But how can this new energy create a surge of action to improve the lives of women in America?
Organizers across the country are ramping up efforts or joining the fight for the first time. We're hosting a panel of women's rights advocates and organizers to discuss their personal experiences and how this movement can go forward. Issues discussed will include who the current political situation is impacting, how can we overcome the challenges of generational divisions, and the best way to build a new movement learning from the successes and failures of the past.
RSVP to join us. Read more about the panelists and moderators below.
Shaunna Thomas was most recently the Executive Director of the P Street Project, the lobbying arm of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee dedicated to organizing progressive members of Congress and their staff and connecting them to the progressive grassroots. Prior to that, Shaunna was the COO of Progressive Congress, the outside organization supporting the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Shaunna got into organizing and advocacy through the 2004 Presidential election, which inspired the next five years of her work with Young People For, a Project of People For the American Way Foundation-a project dedicated to empowering the next generation of progressive leaders. Shaunna- originally from Los Angeles- is an adrenaline junky who is most at home on the water or in the mountains. But she settles for a city existence among friends and family along with the comfort of reality TV in Brooklyn.
Nita Chaudhary Nita Chaudhary was most recently the National Campaigns and Organizing Director at MoveOn.org Political Action. As a part of that role she oversaw and managed MoveOn’s national campaigns department, including the organization’s work on Health Care reform, the economy and Social Security as well as supervising MoveOn's Campaign Directors. During her tenure at MoveOn, Nita oversaw the fundraising program for the 2008 election, and led some of the organization’s largest campaigns including MoveOn’s work to end the Iraq war, protect Constitutional Liberties and address Climate Change. Prior to that she was the Democratic National Committee's first Director of Online during the 2004 cycle. She started her career at People for the American Way where she held several positions, including Media Research Analyst, Web Editor, and Online Organizer. Nita's a native New Yorker who loves the Yankees, cooking Indian food and dogs--especially Miles, her own black pug.
Page Gardner is the founder and president of the Women's Voices. Women Vote Action Fund and the Voter Participation Center, formerly known as Women's Voices. Women Vote (WVWV). The name was formally changed in 2011 to reflect the fact the organization expanded its focus beyond its original emphasis on unmarried women to include the entire RAE.
After the 2000 election, Gardner wanted to improve her understandings of how to identify and mobilize non-voters. She examined exit polling and Census data and found that there was a stunning difference between the voter participation rates of married and unmarried women. Most civic participation efforts addressed women voters as a group. But, as Gardner realized, there is no such thing as "women voters" because married and unmarried women have very different lives, views, and voting patterns. Gardner was the first to focus on the nation's largest, fastest-growing, but underrepresented demographic group - unmarried women.
In 2003, Gardner, along with Chris Desser, founded WVWV -with the goal of increasing unmarried women's participation in the political process. Over six years and three election cycles, WVWV has helped unmarried women to bring their share of total voters closer to their presence in the population - 26% of adult Americans. With Gardner's leadership, WVWV has achieved these results through an ever-expanding array of rigorously tested and proven programs. WVWV is a pioneer in the area of metrics-based voter registration, voter turnout, and advocacy. WVWV is a leader in developing new ways to enfranchise and empower the historically under-represented groups that now comprise the new American electorate: unmarried women, African Americans, Hispanics, and young people.
Before founding WVWV, Gardner worked at senior levels for the highest level competitive presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns throughout the country for more than 20 years. She has also managed issue campaigns on some of the most heatedly debated public policy questions, including reproductive rights, civil rights, national budget priorities, technology and trade. She is a nationally known political strategist and communications specialist.
A prominent political practitioner and commentator, Gardner has written articles for many publications, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, NBC, MSNBC, and PBS.Ms. Gardner graduated magna cum laude from Duke University.
Jamia Wilson is a feminist media activist, writer, and digital storyteller. Jamia is currently VP of Programs at the Women's Media Center and previously worked for Young People for the American Way, New York University, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
After working with coalition partners and campus organizations to help bring thousands of students to the historic March for Women's Lives, Jamia was honored as one of the "Real Hot 100" by the Younger Women's Taskforce. She serves on the leadership committee for SPARK Movement: Challenging the Sexualization of Girls and is on the board of directors of Feminist.com, REVEAL: The Next Generation of Feminine Spirituality, and the Youth Leadership Council for Women of Spirit and Faith. Her words and works have been featured in GOOD Magazine, CBS News, Alternet, Ms.,GRIT TV, In
These Times, Forbes.com, GRIT TV, The Washington Post, CSPAN, NBC's Today Show, Rookie Magazine, Fox.com, and more. She is a contributor to the 40th anniversary edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, Women of Spirit and Faith's 2011 anthology Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power and Madonna and Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop (2012). Website: www.jamia
Jodi L. Jacobson is a long-time leader in the health and development community and an advocate with extensive experience in public health, gender equity, human rights, environment and demographic issues. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of RH Reality Check. In September 2011, Ms. Jacobson was awarded the "Preserving Core Values in Science" Award by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals for her work promoting evidence-based news, analysis, and commentary on sexual and reproductive justice issues.
Previously, Ms. Jacobson was the Director of Advocacy at American Jewish World Service, where she established a new department, leading the organization's efforts to mobilize the American Jewish community toward ending the genocide in Darfur, fighting global AIDS, ensuring access to quality basic education worldwide, addressing the global food crisis, and promoting global debt relief and effective anti-poverty policies, among other issues.
From 1994 to 2007, Ms. Jacobson served as founder and Executive Director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) (est. 1994), an organization that monitors and seeks to promote accountability of US international policy to women's reproductive and sexual health and rights. During Ms. Jacobson's tenure, CHANGE grew into an internationally known advocacy organization on public health and human rights, produced cutting-edge research on international policies and programs, and became a leading source of information and advocacy for international and domestic movements, academics, program managers and the media. Under Ms. Jacobson's leadership, CHANGE developed an outreach list of researchers, advocates, and policymakers throughout the world, and a media contact list of over 2,000 reporters representing every region of the world. As ED at CHANGE, Ms. Jacobson was an invited speaker at 3 consecutive global HIV/AIDS conferences and at numerous regional conferences, and was an advisor on US global AIDS and reproductive health policies to parliamentarians and government officials in the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Ms. Jacobson is frequently sought out by the media for comment on issues related to public health. She has been quoted extensively the Lancet, BMJ and The Economist and national daily news media including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. She has written numerous articles and papers, and is the co-author of 10 books, including 8 volumes of State of the World, and others such as Women's Empowerment and Demographic Processes: Moving Beyond Cairo (Edited by Harriet Presser and Gita Sen, 2000, Oxford University Press). </p>
Prior to establishing CHANGE, Ms. Jacobson was a consultant to numerous organizations in the environmental and reproductive health and population fields, including the International Women's Health Coalition, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Population Council, and the Women's Environment and Development Organization. Her previous work experience includes a position as Senior Policy Analyst for Energy and Environment at the National Governor's Association (fellowship), and as a Senior Researcher at the WorldWatch Institute (1985 to 1994) where she did groundbreaking work on international environment and population issues.
Ms. Jacobson has testified before Congress on several occasions, has been a principal player in the 2006 and 2004 International AIDS Conferences (Toronto and Bangkok) and was a member of two United Nations Expert Groups on Population and Development leading up to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). She was active in both the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, and in U.S. preparations leading up to the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women. Ms. Jacobson has degrees in economics and environmental science and many years
Carol McDonald is currently the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). In this role, she leads the effort to increase and deepen relationships with existing national coalition partners and establish new strategic relationships with groups and individuals. Carol has been in the Planned Parenthood family for eight years in various different capacities, including as political organizer and staff lobbyist for the Georgia affiliate (now Planned Parenthood Southeast); a regional field manager for PPFA; and running national advocacy and independent expenditures campaigns for PPFA and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Last year, she directed the Planned Parenthood documentary A Vital Service: African American Stories of Reproductive Health Care.
In addition to her work at Planned Parenthood, Carol has served on the Boards of Directors for Georgians for Choice (now SPARK Reproductive Justice Now) and the Georgia chapter of Women's Action for New Directions. During the 2008 Presidential primary she served as Deputy Political Director for Hillary Clinton's campaign in Iowa.
Carol is often called on to share her knowledge of issue advocacy, electoral campaigns and strategic planning for groups including Campaign for America's Future, People for the American Way the New Organizing Institute and the Arcus Foundation. She has been a guest lecturer on organizing and social media at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Carol received a B.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a M.A. in teaching from Emory University.
DANA BEYER, M.D., a retired eye surgeon, is Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland. A well-known advocate for health issues as well as gender rights, she practiced medicine and surgery in D.C., Miami, Mississippi, Africa and Asia. She was a candidate for Maryland State Delegate in 2006 and 2010. She has been Vice President of Equality Maryland, Executive Vice President of Maryland NOW, a member of the Board of Governors of the Human Rights Campaign, a founding member of the Progressive Working Group, Maryland's newest progressive alliance, and is currently a board member of Keshet, the nation's foremost Jewish LGBT organization, as well as the National Center for Transgender Equality and Mobile Medical Care, Montgomery County's primary service provider of health care to the uninsured. She co authored The Dallas Principles in 2009. She has served as Senior Adviser to Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg of the Montgomery County Council. A mother of two adult sons, she lives in Chevy Chase, MD.