At a stellar gathering of leaders from business, philanthropy, government, and non-profits, the National Council for Research on Women will kick off 30 years of transforming the way the world looks at women and girls at its annual Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner on Tuesday, March 6th. The Council will honor: Beth Brooke of Ernst & Young; Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Retiker of the Women, War & Peace series on PBS; Anita Hill of Brandeis University; and Soledad O’Brien of CNN at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
On our 30th Anniversary we are recognizing 30 stellar women from diverse corners of our broad network who through their efforts have advanced women’s issues, promoted women’s leadership and changed the way the world views women and girls. All have been nominated by their peers for their outstanding work.
The NAACP, founded in 1909, and the National Urban League, founded in xxx are the most visible organizations, but in 1935 both the National Council of Negro Women (led by Dr. Height from 1957 to her death in 2010) and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs were founded. Even earlier, in 1896, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs was established. Mary Church Terrell was the organization’s first president and this group, still operating, is the oldest organization that works for the benefit of black women and families.
Until 1960, most African American women worked as maids, domestics, or private household workers. The National Domestic Workers Union was founded in 1968 by Dorothy Lee Bolden, who started working at age 12 for about $1.50 a week. The organization was dedicated to professionalize domestic work, providing training and advocating for fair working conditions. This was yet another example of African American women coming together to improve their lives and those of their families.
There is a rich history of African American sororities and fraternities. Among the sororities, Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded at Howard University in 1908. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated was also founded at Howard in 1913 by women who broke off from AKA to emphasize their commitment to scholarship, service, and sisterhood. Delta women marched in the Women’s Suffrage March in 1913, despite discouragement from white women who did not want to mix race matters with suffrage issues. (Full disclosure – I’m a Delta). Two other black women’s sororities, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho, are organizations that also focus on service. All of the black women’s sororities are committed to uplifting the community and to providing scholarship assistance to students.
As UN Women celebrated its first birthday, its executive director Michelle Bachelet stressed that political upheveal and shrinking budgets are no excuse to push back the hard-won gains made by the women's movement globally.
"My top priority for 2012 will be to make a renewed push for women's economic empowerment and political participation," Bachelet said at UN Women's one-year anniversary press conference Thursday.
Formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting women and girls' needs worldwide. Created by the U.N. General Assembly in July 2010, it became operational on Jan. 1, 2011.
Its six priorities are advancing women's political participation and leadership; improving women's economic empowerment; ending violence against women and girls; expanding the role of women in peace talks, peace building, and recovery; making budgets and plans benefit women and men equally; and increasing coordination and accountability across the U.N. system for gender equality.
This report is the culmination of a two-day experts meeting, “The Right to Food, Gender Equality and Economic Policy,” which took place on September 16-17, 2011 at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL). The meeting was organized as a means to contribute to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food’s work on gender equality, including a final report for the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2013. To this end, CWGL brought together economists, researchers and advocates, working from a feminist perspective on various aspects of the food system, to offer analysis and recommendations.
As the Arab world rumbles and shakes, women in the region are experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with instability, transition and crisis. From Tunisia and Egypt to Syria, Libya and Bahrain, women have been present and vocal in the street protest movements, standing shoulder to shoulder with the men, resisting the batons and tear gas, and being killed. Many have been key organizers and leaders in social networking, helping to articulate a common message and vision of freedom, democracy and equality, and providing logistical support to men at the frontlines of violence. They have also faced many of the same physical and sexual threats and risks that women elsewhere have encountered during crises and transitions, including harassment, assault and death.
Despite their contribution, they are again facing exclusion from the political processes under way.
NCRW held an expert panel on February 28, 2011 at American Express with senior leaders from business, government, and academia to explore the case for, barriers to, and action steps needed to expand the number of women in leadership positions. While many overt barriers to women’s advancement have been largely dismantled, and the pipeline to leadership is filled with highly qualified women, the embedded prejudices in our institutions and culture as well as the expectations women have for their professional and personal lives, especially younger women, still pose challenges.