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ERA Roundtable

On Saturday, November 16, from 10:30am-12:00pm, "The ERA in the 21st Century" welcomed a group of experts on women's rights for a roundtable discussion about the ERA past, present, and future.  You may watch that session here.

JENNIFER BAUMGARDNER

Jennifer Baumgardner is a writer, activist, filmmaker, 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 SimpleGlamourRedbookBabbleHarper’sBazaarTeen VogueMarie Claire, and Elle.

In 2005 she created and produced the award-winning documentary I Had an Abortion. In 2013, she released her second film, It Was Rape, which tells the story of eight diverse women.

Jennifer and her work have been featured in venues from Oprah to NPR, and BBC News Hour to Bitch Magazine. She has keynoted at more than 300 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, to name a few. In 2008, she became Writer-in-Residence at The New School, where she taught non fiction workshops for four years.

Jennifer is the author of five books: Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics (FSG, 2007, a Lambda finalist), Abortion & Life (Akashic, 2008), and the essay collection F ‘em! Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls (Seal, 2011), as well as two best-selling books about feminism written with Amy Richards—Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (FSG, 2000) and Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism (FSG, 2005). She is the co-editor, with Madeleine Kunin, of We Do!: American Leaders Who Believe in Marriage Equality. In 2002, Jennifer and Amy founded Soapbox, Inc., a speakers’ bureau that also produces week-long Feminist Camps and Intensives. Soapbox and its projects connect people hungry for feminism with resources and with one another.

Among other honors, she is a Jezebel 25, a Feminist Press 40 Under 40, and a recipient of the Stand Up for Reproductive Justice Award from the Feminist Women’s Health Center of Atlanta. 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.

 

TERRY O'NEILL

Terry O'Neill, a feminist attorney, professor and activist for social justice, was elected president of NOW in June 2009. She is also president of the NOW Foundation and chair of the NOW Political Action Committees, and serves as the principal spokesperson for all three entities. O'Neill oversees NOW's multi-issue agenda, which includes: advancing reproductive freedom, promoting diversity and ending racism, stopping violence against women, winning lesbian rights, ensuring economic justice, ending sex discrimination and achieving constitutional equality for women.

O'Neill's feminist activism began in the 1990s, fighting right-wing extremists in the Deep South, including David Duke. She has served as president of Louisiana NOW and New Orleans NOW and as a member of the National Racial Diversity Committee. She is a past president of Maryland NOW and served on the NOW National Board twice, representing the Mid-South Region (2000-2001) and the Mid-Atlantic Region (2007-2009). O'Neill was NOW's membership vice president from 2001 to 2005, when she oversaw NOW's membership development program as well as finances and government relations.

A former law professor, O'Neill taught at Tulane in New Orleans and at the University of California at Davis, where her courses included feminist legal theory and international women's rights law, in addition to corporate law and legal ethics. She has testified before committees in the Maryland House of Delegates and has written federal amicus briefs on abortion rights for Louisiana NOW, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

O'Neill is a skilled political organizer, having worked on such historic campaigns as Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and the campaign leading to the election of Louisiana's first woman U.S. senator, Mary Landrieu. She also worked to elect women's rights supporters to judgeships and the state legislature in Louisiana, as well as the successful campaign to elect former Maryland NOW president and NOW National Board member Duchy Trachtenberg to the Montgomery County (MD) Council.

O'Neill holds a bachelor's degree in French with distinction from Northwestern University and a law degree magna cum laude from Tulane University. She has one child, a daughter who is a proud feminist.

 

EMILY SACK

Joining the RWU Law faculty in 2001, Professor Emily Sack has become a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and reform of the court system. As the Deputy Director for the Center for Court Innovation, Professor Sack helped develop and implement the first domestic violence courts in New York, as well as the first felony domestic violence court in the United States. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens cited Professor Sack’s article The Struggle for the Future of Domestic Violence Policy in his opinion in the domestic violence case Castle Rock v. Gonzales.

Active in the community, Professor Sack is a member of the Elder Abuse Working group, assists the National District Attorney’s Association with developing elder abuse training curriculum for prosecutors, and serves as Member of the Board and Chair of EMERGE, a batterers’ intervention and parenting skills programs for men who abuse intimate partners. Prior to joining RWU, Professor Sack worked in diverse offices such as the Senate Judiciary Committee Staff of the late Edward M. Kennedy, the ACLU, and the law firm of Stillman, Friedman, & Shaw.

A magna cum laude graduate of NYU School of Law, Professor Sack earned her B.A. from Swarthmore with high honors and her M. Phil. from Columbia University. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Family Law, Children and the Law, Domestic Violence Law, and Death Penalty Law. She recently served as a Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Boston College. She has published in many top journals, including the Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Washington University law reviews.

 

ELEANOR SMEAL

Recognized throughout the nation as a women’s rights leader, Eleanor Smeal appears frequently on television and radio, testifies before Congress on a wide variety of women’s issues, and speaks to diverse audiences nationwide on a broad range of feminist topics. For over two decades, she has played a leading role in both national and state campaigns to win women’s rights legislation and in a number of landmark state and federal court cases for women’s rights.

One of the architects of the modern drive for women’s equality, Smeal is known as a political analyst, strategist, and grassroots organizer. She has played a pivotal role in defining the debate, developing the strategies, and charting the direction of the modern day women’s movement. Smeal was the first to identify the “gender gap” -- the difference in the way women and men vote -- and popularized its usage in election and polling analyses to enhance women’s voting clout. Smeal is the author of How and Why Women Will Elect the Next President (Harper and Row, 1984), which predicted that women’s votes would be decisive in presidential politics.

For over 30 years, Smeal has been on the frontlines fighting for women’s equality. She has been at the forefront of almost every major women’s rights victory – from the integration of Little League, newspaper help-wanted ads, and police departments to the passage of landmark legislation, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Equal Credit Act, Civil Rights Restoration Act, Violence Against Women Act, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and Civil Rights Act of 1991. She has pushed to make Social Security and pensions more equitable for women, and to realign federal priorities by developing a feminist budget. She has campaigned to close the wage gap and to achieve pay equity for the vast majority of women who are segregated in low-paying jobs.

As President of the National Organization for Women, Eleanor Smeal led the drive to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), the largest nationwide grassroots and lobbying campaign in the history of the modern women’s movement. The ERA campaign reshaped the contours of women’s political participation in the U.S. and demonstrated the strength and breadth of public support for women’s rights. Ultimately, the ERA’s defeat exposed the entrenched interests opposed to women’s equality.