Women's Rights

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Collection

Taking Risks, Making Change: Bat Mitzvah and Other Evolving Traditions

The letters from one girl's campaign to have the first Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah in her congregation in 1974 serve as a case study for exploring how we confront controversial issues and make change in our communities.

Myra Wolfgang

Hailed by local newspapers as “the battling belle of Detroit,” Myra Wolfgang went from staging sit-ins to becoming International Vice President of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union.

Ida Lippman

As a police officer and a lawyer, Ida Lippman influenced criminal justice both in America and in Korea, where she helped organize the women’s division of the Seoul police force.

Heather Booth / Alicia Garza

Organizers

Organizing for Equality

Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Groustra

This is Purely Theoretical

by Sarah Groustra

You are female.

You wake up in the morning and get ready to go to school. Picking out clothes can sometimes be a little emotional for you. Like 91 percent of other girls, you are unhappy with the way you look. Doing your makeup isn’t easy either. The day that you ran out of time to put any on, someone called your skin gross. A few days later, your friend tells you you’d be prettier if you just didn’t wear so much makeup. 

Visualization of Gender Equality

Empowerment 101

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Throughout my life the word “feminist” has come to take on many meanings. It’s a word I’ve both heard and used infinite times growing up in the heart of one of New York City’s most politically liberal neighborhoods. Now, the very word “feminism” is one that brings gratification. However, by the time I reached the ever-menacing years of high school, I knew that the sense of affinity that came with the word “feminist” was not shared by the general whole of the New York high school students. 

Rising Voices Fellow Gabi Cantor with her Grandmother

My Bubbe Marches and Pickets

by Gabrielle Cantor

Sometimes a single event can define who a person is. For my grandmother Gloria Fischel, that event happened early in her life, before she even started school, yet went on to dictate the cause to which she has dedicated her adult life. 

Rising Voices Fellow Ariela Basson with her Grandmother

Where in the World is Lorraine Basson?

by Ariela Basson

When I think of a strong Jewish woman in my life, my grandmother, Lorraine Basson, immediately comes to mind. I admire my grandmother for so many of her traits: her passion, her love for her family, her intelligence, her sense of style, her chicken noodle soup recipe, her sophistication, her honesty, her boldness, her fearlessness, but one trait stands out in particular: her love of travel. 

Sally J. Priesand

Throughout her career, Sally J. Priesand has grappled with her role as the first woman rabbi ordained in America.

Tina Grimberg

Denied the opportunity to explore her Jewish heritage as a child in Soviet Ukraine, Tina Grimberg has used her career in the rabbinate to ensure inclusivity in the Jewish community.

Tina Grimberg

Tina Grimberg has focused her rabbinic career on empowering women and fighting domestic violence.
United States Capitol

The Power of an Ask

by Sarah Groustra

I’ll admit it—I own a power outfit. And it was only a few weeks ago that I woke up in a D.C. hotel room, put on my pressed skirt and my sensible (but classy) black heels, and took a bus with my friends to Capitol Hill. I remember listening to my shoes click on the marble floor, shuffling through printed pages of talking points, a nervous, excited energy rising from the center of my stomach.

Ros Baxandall, 1939 - 2015

With her daring, her chutzpah, her athleticism, her many male lovers and her even greater number of enduring female friendships, she exemplified the complexities of a feminist form of freedom.

Wendy Davis

Learning How To Lose

by Caroline Kubzansky

When I think of former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, the first thing that comes to my mind is her shoes. A fearlessly bright shade of pink, this choice of footwear made headlines across the country when Davis debuted them…at an eleven-hour filibuster to prevent a vote on a bill that would have mandated the closure of most Texas abortion clinics.

Knesset Member Stav Shaffir

Politics, You, and a Cup of Cold Brew

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Two great loves that I’ve discovered in high school are politics and coffee. These are two critical elements of who I am today, but one would think they rarely intersect. That’s what I thought too—until Stav Shaffir came along and gave Israeli politics a total caffeine jolt. Stav Shaffir is a young female member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), a star to be sure. 

Deborah Brin

Deborah Brin, one of the first openly gay rabbis, led the first prayer service for Women of the Wall at the Conference for the Empowerment of Jewish Women in 1988.
Carly Fiorina/Hillary Clinton Collage

The Fluidity of the Politician

by Sarah Groustra

I live in a town where Bernie Sanders merchandise adorns front yards and backpacks, school clubs like the GTSA (Gay-Trans-Straight Alliance) and Students Against Human Trafficking have the largest followings, introducing yourself with pronouns is required, and discussions on issues like the refugee crisis and racial inequality are held in both the classroom and the cafeteria. It’s a liberal bubble in a world with increasingly pervasive conservatism, and while many members of my town are wonderfully open about acceptance of liberal issues, kids at school are ostracized for identifying as Republican. 

Cecile Richards (Cropped)

Care No Matter What

by Gabrielle Cantor

Recently, American women came under attack. And I’m not talking about a dozen women, or even a hundred women. Earlier this year, each and every one of the estimated 160 million women living in the United States of America was threatened by an attack which, had it succeeded, would have set women’s rights back to the early 1900s. 

Fifty Shades of Grey Books

Anti-Pornography Values Are Patriarchal

by Elisabeth Eigerman

Andrea Dworkin was one of the greatest feminist minds of the 20th century, and a huge influence on second wave feminism, the dominant feminist ideology of the 1960s and 70s.  Second wave feminism held that sex work and sexual entertainment were harmful and degrading to women, and should be abolished. 

Maud Nathan, 1913, cropped

Icons for the New Year: Maud Nathan

by Tara Metal

In Maud Nathan’s second life as an activist, she became president of the New York Consumers League, vice president of the Woman’s Municipal League of New York, and chair of the industrial committee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Her husband, once her companion at parties and fundraisers, began marching beside her at suffrage parades.

Anya Cherneff

A longtime opponent of human trafficking, Anya Cherneff found a new way to literally empower women in Nepal by founding Empower Generation to teach women and girls to become clean energy entrepreneurs.

Tamar Eshel

A lifelong diplomat with a strong record of defending women’s rights and human rights, Tamar Eshel capped her career with two terms as a member of the Knesset from 1977–1984.
Taxation Postcard from the Ann Lewis Collection

This Women’s Equality Day, Let’s Celebrate the Women Who Got Us Here

by Tara Metal

As we approach yet another election year, American voters may be drawing nearer to an enormous landmark: electing a woman president. With Hillary Rodham Clinton polling as the top Democratic contender, it’s never felt more possible.

Ida Dehmel

Deeply enmeshed in German cultural life as a writer, salon hostess, and women’s rights activist, Ida Coblenz Dehmel found herself squeezed out of the very communities she had helped shape when the Nazis came to power.

Shirley Siegel

The only woman in the Yale Law School class of 1941, Shirley Adelson Siegel became a trailblazer as head of the New York State Attorney’s first Civil Rights Bureau in 1959.
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