Author: Shelly

Audre Lorde

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Audre Lorde (1934-1992), self identified as a black feminist, lesbian, poet, mother, warrior; she was critical to shaping the intellectual landscape of  the women’s movement, black arts movement, black feminist, and gay liberation movements globally. Lorde herself was shaped by a larger sociocultural context of WWII, McCarthyism, and witnessing the unfolding of the Civil Rights Movement. Her wo...
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Undocumented Women

Photo:  Matti Keltanen
Approximately 5.2 million undocumented immigrant women live in the United States. Without legal status, most of these women do not have permission to work or get driver’s licenses, and do not qualify for many of the social services reserved for citizens. Many immigrant women face compounded intersectional hardships due to the interplay of their undocumented status with other facets of their lives,...
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The Lesbian Avengers

Carrie Moyer
“Lesbians! Dykes! Gay Women! We want revenge and we want it now.” If you had been a woman at the 1992 New York Gay Pride March, a flyer with those words might have been shoved into your sweaty hand. Keep reading: “We're wasting our lives being careful. Imagine what your life could be. Aren't you ready to make it happen?” That flyer was printed and distributed by the thousands by six lesbians, A...
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Female Justices on the Supreme Court

A detail of Artist Nelson Shanks’ painting, “The Four Justices”, a 9-foot 6-inch by 7-foot 9-inch oil on canvas portrait of the first four female justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, top row, from left, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, bottom row, from left, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is seen during a press preview at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Since its beginnings, only four women have served as Justices on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS):  Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Sonia Sotomayor.  Justice O’Connor made history when she became the first woman to serve the Court in 1981. The Supreme Court is the highest Court in the United States, responsible for upholding the Constitution.  It has th...
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Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) almost single-handedly founded the birth control movement in the United States. In the early 1900s, while working as a midwife among poverty-stricken women in New York City’s Lower East Side, she often met women who asked her for the secret to preventing pregnancy.  Sanger knew no secrets and instead witnessed countless women bear one child after another, sometimes a...
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#InternationalWomensDay

International Women's Day
March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), a celebration of women that takes place in countries on every continent.  It has a deep socialist heritage, one connected to the cause for women’s suffrage, women’s right to vote, and importantly, for working women’s right to fair wages and safe working conditions.  Today, it is recognized by the United Nations as part of a global call to promote gender ...
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Octavia Butler: SciFi Genius, Afrofuturist Mother

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Conversations about Afrofuturist and science fiction feminist writers always acknowledge the revolutionary significance Octavia E. Butler’s fictional writing. Even in the early 21st century, the science fiction (sf) genre is described as being mostly white, male and heteronormative – although the actual histories of fans and creators might disagree. When she began writing in the 1970s, Butler was ...
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The Pill

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The oral contraceptive known as “The Pill” is one of the most influential drugs in the history of the United States.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the birth control pill in 1960, giving heterosexually active women control over preventing unwanted pregnancies.  Its appearance marked a turning point in the social and economic lives of women who could now claim sexual equality and ...
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The Riot Grrrl Revolution

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In early 1990s Olympia, Washington, the rebellion and riffs of the punk scene were adopted in a boisterous, unabashed display of feminine insurrection – riot grrrl. The Pacific Northwest was noted for its do-it-yourself culture, which was a breeding ground for self-published magazines, grunge and alternative music, and underground art. In college towns particularly, young women began to form an...
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Wonder Woman

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  Wonder Woman has been a feminist icon, taking political action on the 1972 cover of with Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Magazine under the heading “Wonder Woman for President.” This wasn’t the first time she ran for president – the 1943 cover of the original Wonder Woman comic book featured the same scenario. Wonder Woman has also been a longstanding queer icon throughout her history, becoming the first s...
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Georgia Gilmore

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Most people know the story of Rosa Parks, the black woman who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama and whose action helped launch the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, a key moment in the black freedom struggle many think of as the spark that brought the civil rights movement to national and global attention. But most have never heard of Georgia Gilmore, one of the ...
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Pronouns: She, Her, Hers, Herself

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This is a gender reference guide for some of the more popular pronouns regarding those outside and inside the gender binary. What is this gender binary you ask? Gender identity goes way beyond girl and boy, it is otherwise known as outside the gender binary. Binary means two, which just refers to boy and girl. Binary Pronouns Binary, or boy and girl pronouns, are “she/her/hers/herself”...
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Indigenous Feminism

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Native American women are the largest demographic of women likely to be killed by domestic violence. It is an epidemic with levels that almost exceed global rates: Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be assaulted and more than 2 times more likely to be stalked than any other woman in the United States. And, even though Native societies were egalitarian more than 500 years ago, toda...
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Black Feminism(s)

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One could argue black feminism began in the nineteenth century with Sojourner Truth’s declarative question, “Ain’t I a Woman” since her words are an inaugural instance of intersectionality, the notion that race and class status are inseparable from the struggle for gender equality. But there were many black feminists in the 19th century like Anna Julia Cooper, Frances Harper, Harriet Tubman, Id...
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Slut

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The term used for an individual who is considered promiscuous or morally unclean is usually applied to women. The absence of a comparable term for me highlights a sexist double standard that diminishes women’s sexual agency. Slut originates from Old English, and it means a “messy, dirty, or untidy” woman or girl. In contemporary culture, the slur reinforces the social characterization of th...
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Latina Feminism(s)

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Latina feminism(s) describes a range of historical political collaborations among Latinas and culturally specific Latina-led political struggles for gender and social justice in the United States. “Latina” is an umbrella term for women living in the United States whose families have current or historical ties to Spanish-speaking regions of the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Nort...
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Taking Health Into Their Own Hands

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In 1969, a group of women who were disillusioned with the paternalism of the medical establishment came together as the Boston Women's Health Collective. They pooled their knowledge in small working groups and produced a series of pamphlets which became Women and Their Bodies in 1971 and then Our Bodies, Ourselves, published in 1973, to inform women about a variety of health-related topics includi...
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Feminist Manifestos

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The manifesto has been an important genre for feminist writers because the form enables women’s voices to be heard at their most provocative, independent, irreverent, and demanding. Feminist manifestos are often short and pointed declarations of identity and politics that use radical rhetoric to upend the status quo of gender and sex. Whether they take the form of letters, brochures, pamphlets, or...
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Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden
Award-winning feminist filmmaker Lizzie Borden used independent and guerilla film tactics before these terms were commonly known. Her early films take on hot topics in the feminist movement with visual representations of struggles for equality in race, class, gender, and sexuality. Her later films focus on women’s sexuality, and her attempts to move into more mainstream film in the 1990’s were...
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Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller
  Wilma Pearl Mankiller (1945-2010), was born in Okalhoma. She was a tireless advocate for the Cherokee people, and she became the first female principle chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985. With a focus on improved healthcare and education systems, Mankiller served two full terms as Cherokee chief. She also founded the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department, which helped to...
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Alice Paul

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Alice Paul (1185-1977) was crucial to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. constitution granting women the right to vote in 1920. In 1923, she drafted and proposed the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment, then known as the Lucretia Mott Amendment. While studying in England, Paul became active in the suffrage movement, learning important lessons about community organizing an...
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Gloria Steinem

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Gloria Steinem (b. 1934) is a feminist organizer, activist, writer and teacher. In 1972 she founded Ms. magazine with Dorothy Pittman Hughes—the cover image was a drawing with the caption, “Wonder Woman for President.” In 1968, she helped establish New York magazine, which first published the Ms. as a special edition. She published the important essay, “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation...
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Bella Abzug

CREDIT: LEONARD MCCOMBE/LIFE MAGAZINE ©TIME INC.
Famous for her trademark hats, Bella Savitsky Abzug (1920-1968) was a pioneer for civil rights. Born in the Bronx, New York to Russian Jewish parents, Abzug studied at Hunter College, The City University of New York. In the 1940s, she attended Columbia University School of Law after Harvard refused her admission because of her gender.  Abzug became a powerful voice of women's leadership. Wh...
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Consciousness Raising

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In the context of 1970s feminism, consciousness-raising (CR) refers to the practice of discussing the varied and everyday effects of sexism, racism, and classism in groups of similarly identified individuals. The practice was a key political strategy for second wave feminists, as well as an opportunity for personal transformation. The goal was to uncover the ways patriarchy distorted all levels of...
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Black Power Feminism

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As a political practice Black Power feminism bridges black feminist thought and black power politics simultaneously. As a theory it embraces the central tenants of the Black Power movement including self-definition, political participation, and self defense while also prioritizing gender justice. Black Power feminism situates race and gender as equal parts in eradicating various forms of oppres...
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Undocuqueer Movement

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The UndocuQueer movement is a powerful network of queer undocumented immigrant activists organizing for the rights of undocumented youth and their families. UndocuQueer activists came to the U.S. as infants or children. UndocuQueers struggle for the right to work, live, and love in the country in which they were raised and educated. Without documentation, even those who have earned college degrees...
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ACT UP

The posters in the University of Rochester AIDS Education Collection are presented here for research purposes only, and may be protected by copyright either according to US law or according to the laws applicable in their countries of origin. Any further reproduction of the materials may require copyright or other rights clearance and is the sole responsibility of the user.
ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) founded in New York City in 1987, is a direct action organization working to end the AIDS crisis. At its height there were 140 ACT UP chapters internationally. Through a democratic structure rooted in Affinity Groups, Working Groups and regular Monday night meetings, often of hundreds of people,  ACT UP achieved transformative breakthroughs for people with ...
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Gloria Anzaldúa: Light in the Dark

Gloria Anzaldua
Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004) is one of the most influential Chicana feminist thinkers of the twentieth century. Her visionary writing is key to the development of lesbian/queer theory and for theorizing writing by women of color. Once a member of the Feminist Writers Guild, Anzaldúa’s groundbreaking book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, published in 1987, rocked Women & Gender S...
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Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015)

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Because she was so involved with civil and labor rights, the FBI assigned to follow her decided she was at least, partially, black. But Grace Lee Boggs—born Grace Chin Lee—was Chinese American. Her activism defies categorization. At college, and later in graduate school, Boggs studied Hegel and Marx—she earned her Ph.D at Bryn Mawr. And with her advanced degree, she had trouble finding empl...
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Fire Island

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The beach resort communities of Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines play a central part in US gay social and political life. Cherry Grove is the first lesbian and gay resort community. Located on the Atlantic ocean, 70 miles from New York City, they were first claimed as gay territory as far back as the first half of the twentieth century: the 1930s saw the arrival of lesbian and gay the...
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Sojourners for Truth and Justice

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Inspired by the intersectional activism of Sojourner Truth a century before, Sojourners for Truth and Justice was a radical black women’s human rights organization during the height of the cold war’s Age of McCarthy. The group included Alice Childress, Shirley DuBois, Esther Cooper Jackson, Claudia Jones, Lorraine Hansberry, Louise Thompson Patterson, and Mary Church Terrell. They advocated a blac...
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Sojourner Truth

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Although she was born into slavery, Sojourner Truth is among the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time,” according to Smithsonian. In 1826, Truth escaped New York slavery with her infant daughter; she later went to court to sue for the recovery of her son. In 1828, she became the first black woman in U.S. history to win a legal case against a white man. Born Isabella Baumfree, she named h...
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Lesbian Lit

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Lesbian Literature includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that feature same sex women’s love, relationships, and themes. While there is a history of lesbian literature before the 20th century—most notably Sappho of Lesbos—most of the literature offered only subtle lesbian themes. The first explicit lesbian novel published in English, The Well of Loneliness (1928) by Radclyffe Hall was deemed obs...
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Borderlands, A Feminist Concept

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Soon after Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/ La Frontera: The New Mestiza was published (1987), the notion of ‘borderlands’ began to gain currency as key feminist theoretical concept with import across disciplines in the U.S. and beyond. It has indeed been recognized as the most important concept that the field of Latina/o Studies has contributed to cultural studies in the United States, Europe, and ...
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Sci-Fi Feminism

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The historical role of feminism in science fiction is somewhat contested. On the one hand, common wisdom would have it that SF was a genre for white male writers at least until the late twentieth century. It’s true that male authors generally dominated science fiction during the early history of the genre, which stretches from the “scientific romances” and utopian narratives of the turn of the cen...
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#ImWithHer

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While Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in the United States to win the presidential nomination for a major political party, Victoria Woodhull is the first woman to run for President of the United States (POTUS).  She ran for office in 1872, forty-eight years before the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. In her acceptance speech, Clinton reminded her supporters that their “...
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Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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  We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide. For nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood has promoted a commonsense approach to women’s ...
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Women Who Rock

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  Women Who Rock brings together scholars, musicians, media-makers, performers, artists, and activists to explore the role of women and popular music in the creation of cultural scenes and social justice movements in the Americas and beyond. This multifaceted endeavor reshapes conventional understandings of music and cultural production by initiating collective methods of research, ...
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Rights4Girls

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Rights4Girls is a human rights organization focused on gender-based violence against vulnerable young women and girls in the U.S. We advocate for the dignity and personhood of young women and girls - so that every girl may possess the right to be safe and live a life free of violence and exploitation. Based in Washington, D.C., Rights4Girls works to make the lives of U.S. young women and girls...
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Black Girls Rock

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BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. is 501(c)3 non-profit youth empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color, as well as to encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media. Since 2006, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! seeks to build the self-...
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Trust Black Women Partnership

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The mission of the Trust Black Women Partnership is to develop strong network of African American women organizations and individuals mobilized to defend our human right to make abortion and family planning decisions for ourselves. We work to counter the growing anti-abortion movement in African American community and defeat race- and gender-based campaigns and legislation that limits abortion acc...
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Women’s Sports Foundation

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The Women’s Sports Foundation was founded in 1974 by tennis legend, Billie Jean King, to advance the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity. Today we provide scholarships and grants to aspiring athletes. We fund groundbreaking research and public awareness campaigns. We educate. We advocate. And we organize programs in cities across the country. Sure, we still have a lon...
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Alianza

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National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (Alianza) was established as one of three domestic violence “Cultural Institutes” to address the particular needs and concerns of communities of color experiencing family violence. Alianza specifically addresses the needs of Latino/a families and communities, although its work helps to inform the domestic violence field in gener...
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National Organization for Women Foundation

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The National Organization for Women Foundation (“NOW Foundation”) is a 501(c) (3) organization devoted to achieving full equality for women through education and litigation. The Foundation focuses on a broad range of women’s rights issues, including economic justice, pay equity, racial discrimination, women’s health and body image, women with disabilities, reproductive rights and justice, f...
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National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum

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Through great perseverance, commitment and volunteerism, National Asian Pacific Women's Forum (NAPAWF) has sustained its energy and vitality. Its founding sisters, board, chapter leadership, members and staff are the many women and supporters who have given their time and energy (many without compensation) to build and sustain an organization that represents them, their ideals and the issues t...
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Native American Women’s Health Education and Resource Center

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Native American Women’s Health Education and Resource Center The Native American Community Board (NACB) works to protect the health and human rights of Indigenous Peoples pertinent to our communities through cultural preservation, education, coalition building, community organizing, reproductive justice, environmental justice, and natural resource protection while working toward safe commun...
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National Center for Transgender Equality

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The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people. NCTE was founded in 2003 by transgender activists who recognized the urgent need for policy change to advance transgender equality. With a committed board of directors, a volunteer staff of one, and donated office space, we set out to a...
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Women’s Media Center

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The Women's Media Center makes women visible and powerful in the media. Led by our President, Julie Burton, the WMC works with the media to ensure that women’s stories are told and women’s voices are heard. We do this in the following ways: media advocacy campaigns, media monitoring for sexism, creating original content, training women and girls to participate in media, and promoting media exp...
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Madre

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MADRE is an international women's human rights organization. We partner with community-based women's groups worldwide facing war and disaster -- our sister organizations. Our mission is to advance women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to the crises women face. Our history is rooted in progressive movements for peace, justice and women’...
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Live Your Dream

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Live Your Dream.org is an online volunteer network, a self-motivated community of people who wish to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives. This initiative is sponsored by Soroptimist, an international women’s organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through award-winning projects that effect fundamen...
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Roe v. Wade

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1970 was the dawn of a decade of radical and swift change for women in the U.S., none more profound than the right to control whether and when to become a mother. That year, a Texas woman named Norma McCorvey—a poor former carny with addiction problems and two previous pregnancies (one daughter forcibly taken from her by her mother, the other placed for adoption)—found herself pregnant a third tim...
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#NotYourSidekick

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In 2013 Suey Park raised the profile of Asian American feminism in the digital age with her Twitter campaign. In one tweet, she writes that she’s “tired of patriarchy in Asian American spaces and sick of the racism in white feminism.” In another, she writes, “I’d rather base build with other Asian Americans than rely on allies, who have a history of being absent.” Park’s description of racism a...
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Rape

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Sexual intercourse or sexual penetration without consent is rape. Rape, or sexual assault, is a violent crime perpetuated by persons who believe they have dominant, controlling power over another. Rape can also take place in instances of domestic abuse, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is unable to consent, such as against a person who is unconscious or against a person wh...
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Protesting Miss America

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In 1968, four hundred women gathered at Atlantic City’s Miss America Pageant to protest what they called “ludicrous beauty standards” perpetuated by American culture. In front of television cameras ready to film the pageant as a major media event, Miss America Protesters seized the opportunity to criticize the “Madonna-Whore” messaging symbolized by the beauty pageant. In “No More Miss Amer...
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Transgender

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Frank Benson’s 3-D printed sculpture, Juilanna (2015), is a twenty-first century response to the marble sculpture Sleeping Hermaphroditus (1620) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. In Benson’s work the model’s gaze, breasts, penis, and futuristic sheen challenge the fixed idea of “female.” Rather than on an abstracted or mythical figure, Benson modeled his sculpture on a real person, Juliana Huxtable, an Ame...
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The Battle of the Sexes

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In the world of professional tennis, there were two matches between a male and female player that became known as The Battle of the Sexes. They took place in 1973, the year of Roe v. Wade, and one year after congressional ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and the passage of Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education prog...
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Sex and the Body

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  As an integral component of the notion of the “the personal is political,” many feminists highlighted the importance of women’s sexuality as part of a broader political transformation. While scholars and activists like Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin emphasized understanding sexuality as a critical component of women’s oppression, drawing attention to issues like sexual assault and...
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Women’s Lib (Feminism 101)

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Feminism, the feminist movement, the women’s liberation movement, or women’s lib are movements designed to transform models of power that facilitate the social, political, and economic sexist exploitation and oppression of women. Feminism is not only about women being equal to men. It is also interested in challenging the prevalence of rape and domestic violence—think Bill Cosby, Emma Sulko...
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Modern Roller Derby

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"Roller Derby" brings to mind images of elbows to the face, staged fights, butch lesbians and angry tattooed feminists. In 2001, modern flat track roller derby grew out of the Riot Grrrl punk rock movement in Autin, Texas. Instead of accepting traditional gender roles, the Riot Grrrl movement redefined femininity and rebelled against the male dominated music world. Modern roller derby, an amate...
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