Honoring Women & Empowering Girls: LM Monthly Newsletter July 2019

July 8, 2019

LM and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

Betty Friedan, former Legal Momentum board member, co-founder of the National Organization of Women, and writer of The Feminine Mystique, believed the Equal Rights Amendment was essential. ERA supporters such as Friedan agreed the best way to protect women and girls’ rights is through the law

In 1923, women suffragists Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to Congress to guarantee equal rights for women in the constitution. Legal Momentum’s early history reflects our commitment to the ERA. In 1979, Legal Momentum established the Equal Rights Amendment Impact Project to develop principles of sex equality under state constitutions’ equal rights provisions.

Now, forty years later, Legal Momentum continues to work on the grassroots efforts of the movement to pass the ERA. With only one state needed to ratify the amendment, Legal Momentum is working closely with the ERA Coalition and the Alice Paul Institute as one of the lead organizations pushing the ratification process forward. On April 30, 2019 the House Committee on the Judiciary held the first hearing in 36 years to discuss the ERA, and Legal Momentum was proud to submit congressional testimony. Please stay in touch with us for the most up to date information on the ERA ratification effort.

LM Empowering Young Women and Girls

By the young age of 18, 40-60% of black women have already been the victims of coercive sexual contact. (Black Women’s Blueprint, “The Truth Commission on Black Women and Sexual Violence,” 2012, https://mcasa.org/assets/files/African-American-Women-and-Sexual-Assault1.pdf.) Young women of color are disproportionately impacted by sexual violence in comparison with their white counterparts. Under the leadership of CEO & President of Legal Momentum Carol Baldwin Moody, a highly-accomplished black woman and one of the few black women leading a national women’s organization, Legal Momentum is able to create a lasting impact on the lives of young women of color 

On Thursday, June 27th, Legal Momentum held the graduation ceremony for the Rights Now! 2018-2019 Class of Peer Educators. Young women leaders graduated from this year’s class of Peer Educators. The Peer Educators spent the year educating and empowering hundreds of other young women throughout New York City. One of this year’s Peer Educators, Kamilah, shares, “It has always been a goal of mine to be the person I needed when I was younger for another young person. I take pride in being an information hub, resource and referral consultant and counselor all in one for young people of color… Working with the Rights Now! Program has allowed me to utilize my talents and has been a personally fulfilling experience, as it is my life’s mission to provide as much assistance my community needs.”

Legal Momentum looks forward to the expansion that is to come for the Rights Now! Program, so that we can empower an ever-growing number of young women leaders to educate and to serve young people within their own communities.

LM Honoring the Women Who’ve Ascended

As Forbes notes in 2018, only five percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. This year’s Aiming High Honorees have ascended and have become role models of female leadership. Pilar Ramos, EVP and General Counsel of Mastercard, emphasized Legal Momentum’s impact and thanked Legal Momentum “for trying to improve what matters, and being so bold as to aim high.” 

Legal Momentum’s 19th Class of Aiming High Honorees reflected on the past, present, and future fight for equality. Honorees were introduced by colleagues, and Betsy Healy remarked how Jennifer Marre, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel of Bank of America, “is committed to paying it forward to women and girls both within and beyond the law profession.” Honorees emphasized Legal Momentum’s vitally important work. Lucy Fato, EVP and General Counsel of AIG, affirmed “We need organizations like Legal Momentum more today than ever before.” 

Summer Update

Friends and supporters of Legal Momentum, there will be no newsletter next month as we prepare for some new and exciting changes to our monthly publication. We hope you had a happy Independence Day and wish you a great summer.

Thank You for Your Support

Legal Momentum is the nation’s premier legal advocate for women and girls – and we cannot do our work without your critical support. Since our founding in 1970, Legal Momentum has advanced the rights of women and girls through the power of the law, and we have been recognized as a critical, forward-thinking, historic force for legal advocacy by the Library of Congress, Radcliffe Institute Schlesinger Library, and more. Your donations enable us to be fierce champions for women and girls!