The Feminist Majority and its 42 co-sponsors honored Congresswomen Louise Slaughter with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Barbara Lee and Donna Edwards with Fearless Trailblazer Awards, and Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and Founder of Whole Women’s Health with its Courage Award at the 2015 Women Money Power Summit.
The awards were presented before a packed ballroom at the National Press Club. The Summit is co-sponsored by 42 leading women’s rights organizations including National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, American Association of University Women, National Education Association, National Congress of Black Women, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York made history as the first woman on the powerful House Rules Committee and now as its ranking member. Congresswoman Slaughter a strong voice and fighter for reproductive and justice in Congress and Chair of the Prochoice House Caucus, reminded participants about the days of back-alley abortions. She emphasized that we must never go back to that time. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro paid tribute to Slaughter calling her one of the “great Titans in Congress.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee courageously fought against the Stupak-Pitts anti-abortion amendment to the Affordable Care Ac and recently introduced the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) to finally end the Hyde Amendment. She believes that there is “no option but to fight for women’s healthcare, for women’s rights, and the elimination of racism and sexism.” She encouraged the audience to advocate for what you want. Congresswoman Lee quoted her idol, Shirley Chisholm that “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.”
Congresswoman Donna Edwards served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, an organization she co-founded. She also led the campaign to pass the Violence Against Women Act and the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban. Congresswoman Edwards asked audience to be strong supporters of women. She raised an important point that “it takes women supporting women, making sure people know not only what we want, but what we demand.” Congresswoman Edwards said that “being fearless is about every single one of us standing up and making a difference.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller is the lead plaintiff in the legal challenge against the Texas TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) law that would reduce the number of clinics from 41 to 10 in the state, denying millions of women access to legal abortion. Advocates are waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will hear Whole Women’s Health constitutional challenge to the Texas TRAP law. Miller spoke of the importance of women’s health clinics to millions of women not only in the major population centers but also in the rural areas of the country.
The Summit featured sessions on maximizing the women’s vote, the rule of gender in election and advancing the feminist agenda. Featured speakers at the sessions included Avis Jones-Deweever, President and CEO of Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women, Kelly Dittmar a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics, Barry Lynn, Executive Director at the American United for Separation of Church and State, E. Faye Williams, President and CEO of National Congress of Black Women, Terry O’Neil, President of National Organization for Women, Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations at the American Association of University Women, Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity.