Exhibit: Women Who Dared
BiographiesMultimediaBy CityAbout WWD Jewish Gender Activism
What She Said
  Rivka Solomon
  Boston WWD Event 2003
  Born in 1962
  Created That Takes Ovaries!
Biography  up to top

Rivka Solomon was born in 1962 and raised in the Northeast. Both of her parents were artists and activists in causes ranging from civil rights to antiwar to women's liberation. Her paternal grandmother, too, was an activist, organizing support groups and classes for young mothers, and later encouraging her elderly neighbors to fight back against neighborhood violence. All of her grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe, and although her parents were not religious, they raised Rivka to have a strong, proud sense of her Jewish identity.

From an early age, Rivka was an outspoken advocate for women's and girls' issues, leading her young friends to stand up against discrimination in their school, families, and communities. She was equally passionate about diversity and international cultures, bringing this interest to her education and earning a Masters degree in international affairs. But in her mid-twenties, Rivka was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had to withdraw from her promising career in international affairs. Confined to her bed, she became a writer, using social criticism as her activist medium.

After making a splash at a party by using the phrase "that takes ovaries" to describe a woman's brazenness, Solomon developed the idea for a book with that title to celebrate women's acts of courage. She sent out a call for submissions and was inundated with stories of women's boldness. Despite the ongoing obstacles posed by her illness, Solomon persevered in editing the book and getting it published. She also developed a plan for "That Takes Ovaries" open mikes, which bring communities together to celebrate the bold things women do, while simultaneously promoting the book. These "That Takes Ovaries!" events are designed to encourage local women and girls who have never led or organized before to become activists themselves. Thirty weeks after the publication of the book in the Spring of 2002, thirty-five "That Takes Ovaries!" events had been held across America as well as in India.

Solomon is thrilled with the success of the book and the open mike events. She continues to expand the "That Takes Ovaries!" movement, organizing open mikes and creating a play based on the book. She is also writing a memoir about growing up as the child of feminist activists.

What She Said  up to top
I feel like there is no way to separate anything I do from my Jewishness. I feel very Jewish. Any time I'm loud and vocal, I feel Jewish. ...More  Audio available
My grandmother on my father's side was an early activist. I don't think she would think of herself quite that way, but she was a community organizer. ...More  Audio available
I think [the connection between my parents' activism and their Jewish heritage] became clear during the holidays. Their activism was year-round, ...More 
I actually believe the philosophy of the book [That Takes Ovaries!], which is that we're all role models for each other all the time. ...More 
I had a party one night and a bunch of people over. And someone told this story of something bold and brazen that this woman did, and I just said, 'Oh, that takes ovaries!" ...More 
Seventy to eighty percent of the stories that were submitted to me for this book were about women fighting back against men trying to hurt them... It was very sobering. ...More 
I have always had two passions in life. I've always been involved with women's stuff. Always, always, always, ever since I was a little girl, I was a leader of girls. ...More 
I get a lot of emails from women thanking me for inspiring or re-inspiring them ...More 
It gave me focus and it gave me a new opportunity -- I mean, I had to leave the international politics world, and it gave me a new vehicle for channeling my women's activism. ...More 
Absolutely the biggest struggle for me has been my health, and it continues to be really, really hard. ...More 
I'd say two things [have been the most rewarding]. One...it has been such a delight to work with these women in India. ...More 
What do I recommend for women who want to learn how to put their ovaries into activist-action? If you can imagine it, you can do it. ...More 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
Articles, Brochures, other papers Papers 
Postcard of That Takes Ovaries! book cover
Audio Clips Audio 
Answer - Jewish values (Rivka Solomon)
Answer - Family Upbringing (Rivka Solomon - grandmother)
 up to top

How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Rivka Solomon." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=prsolomon>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Rivka Solomon," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=prsolomon>.