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  • The ERA in the 21st Century: Where Have We Come From, and Where Will We Go?

Jennifer BaumgardnerJennifer Baumgardner

"It Was Rape" Filmmaker, activist


Jennifer Baumgardner is a filmmaker, activist, writer, and lecturer whose work explores abortion, sex, bisexuality, rape, single parenthood, and women’s power. After five years as an editor at the feminist magazine Ms. (1993-1997), Jennifer began writing investigative pieces for Harper’s and The Nation, commentaries for NPR’s All Things Considered, and contributing to magazines such as Real Simple, GlamourRedbookBabble, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, and Elle.

In 2004, she created the “I Had an Abortion” project to encourage women (and men) to “come out” about their procedures. The campaign included t-shirts that said “I had an abortion,” a film documenting women’s stories of abortion, a book, and a photo exhibit. In 2008, she began a film project called “It Was Rape,” focusing on 8 women’s stories. “It Was Rape” began screening in December of 2012. This spring it will be part of film festivals, Take Back the Night events and anti-violence programming in Alabama, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Louisiana, Ohio, New York, and Arizona.

Jennifer and her work has been featured in venues from The Oprah Winfrey Show to NPR’s Talk of the Nation, BBC News Hour to Bitch. She has keynoted at more than 250 universities, organizations, and conferences, including the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, Amherst College, Take Back The Night UW-Madison, and the New Jersey Women and Gender Studies Consortium. In 2008, she became Writer-in-Residence at The New School, where she taught until 2012.

Jennifer is the author of three books (Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics (FSG, 2007), Abortion and Life (Akashic, 2008), and the essay collection F ‘em! Goo goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls (Seal, 20110. She has co-authored two other best-selling books about feminism with Amy Richards—Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, (FSG, 2000) and Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism (FSG, 2005).

In 2003, the Commonwealth Club of California honored her in their centennial year as a “Visionary for the 21st Century,” commenting that “in her role as author and activist, [Jennifer has] permanently changed the way people think about feminism…and will shape the next 100 years of politics and culture.”

Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Jennifer lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.


Amy RichardsAmy Richards

Opting In author, activist


After graduating cum laude from Barnard College in 1992 with a degree in Art History, Amy Richards embarked on an unexpected career as a feminist activist, writer, and organizer. What began as a summer project, Freedom Summer ’92, a cross-country voter registration drive, eventually led Amy to co-found the Third Wave Foundation, a national organization for young feminist activists between the ages of 15 and 30. Amy’s leadership and visionary work launched her as a primary spokesperson and leading voice for young feminist issues and for the past fifteen years Amy has assumed that role by lecturing at hundreds of venues, writing books and articles about feminism today, and making numerous media appearances all in an attempt to confirm that younger people are making bold and transformative contributions to their communities.

Amy is most popularly known as the author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (co-authored with Jennifer Baumgardner and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2000 with an anniversary and updated edition published in 2010) and as the voice behind Ask Amy, the online advice column she has run at since 1995. Amy is also the author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, about feminism and motherhood, and the co-author of Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism. Amy’s writings have appeared in The Nation, The LA Times, Bust, Ms. and numerous anthologies, including Listen Up, Body Outlaws and Catching A Wave—where she has tackled issues ranging from plastic surgery to abortion politics. Amy was also the author of Insight Guides: Shopping in New York City.

Amy has appeared in a range of media venues including Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor, Oprah, Talk of the Nation, New York One and CNN. Amy was first publicly distinguished as a leader in 1995 when Who Cares magazine chose her as one of twenty-five Young Visionaries. She has gone on to win accolades from Ms. magazine, which profiled her in “21 for the 21st: Leaders for the Next Century,” Women’s Enews, which in 2003 named her one of their “Leaders for the 21st Century,” the American Association of University Women, which chose her as a 2004 Woman of Distinction, and her alma mater, Barnard College, which honored her for her achievements in 2007.

For more than a decade Amy led Third Wave as it grew from a small grassroots organization into a national institution. During her tenure Amy created and sustained the organization’s signature program areas and initiated public education projects such as “I Spy Sexism,” encouraging people to take action on the injustices that they witness every day, and “Why Vote?” This experience makes her a sought after resource for emerging organizations, thus Amy spends a good deal of time consulting to a variety of projects, including a forthcoming HBO documentary Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words and a PBS documentary on the women’s movement in America, MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Amy was also the interim project director for Twilight: Los Angeles, a film by Anna Deavere Smith, where she oversaw a national educational program that addressed race in America and Amy continues to work closely with Gloria Steinem on her writings. She has also worked with Scenarios USA helping with the distribution of their teen educational videos, and with the Columbia School of Public Health on a project addressing the long-term negative health consequences of welfare reform. She recently served as a cultural attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Russia where she consulted on women’s issues in that country. She is also very involved with the organizations on whose boards and advisory committees she serves, including Ms. Magazine, the Sadie Nash Leadership Program, Chicken & Egg Productions, and Fair Fund. In the summer of 2009 Amy was in residence at the writer’s retreat Hedgebrook. In addition to her writing and consulting, Amy spends most of her days running the foremost feminist lecture agency, Soapbox Inc: Speakers Who Speak Out. She is also a four-time marathon runner, a former NCAA Division I soccer player, an avid traveler, and a mother of two sons.

Click here to watch a video of a frank conversation on radical mommyhood with Amy Richards and Maegan “Mamita Mala” Ortiz at the Center for New Words:


Opening General Session:

Roberta Francis

Roberta Francis, a gender equity consultant and writer, is Co-Chair of the ERA Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations. She also manages the website, which she developed in 1999.

Bobbie, who was Director of the New Jersey Division on Women from 1990-1994, has worked for 35 years on a broad spectrum of issues for women’s advancement, from education and pay equity to reproductive rights and violence against women.

In 1998 she was project director and script consultant for the educational film “The Equal Rights Amendment: Unfinished Business for the Constitution.” Her short play “The ERA That’s Yet to Come” was published in 2002 in 33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women’s History.