ERA’s Top 10 Gender Justice Moments of 2022


Jess Eagle, Senior Communications Manager

In one of our favorite holiday-season traditions, we’re ending the year by reflecting on our team’s proudest accomplishments of 2022. Thanks to your donations, emails and phone calls to lawmakers, event attendance, and general support, we have plenty to celebrate together as we wave goodbye (and good riddance) to 2022.

 

Equal Rights Advocates’ Top 10 Gender Justice Moments of 2022

1: After Dobbs, the country fights back

ERA responded to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe by backing strong pro-choice policies at the state level alongside partners nationwide. In California, we strongly urged voters to pass Proposition 1 on Nov. 8, which explicitly added abortion rights to CA’s constitution. We backed CA Assembly Bill 2223, which guarantees no Californian can be investigated, prosecuted, or incarcerated for ending a pregnancy or experiencing pregnancy loss.

We also urged corporations to support their employees’ rights to choose by breaking their silence on the issue and covering costs for employees who live in states with bans to get the procedure in other states.

  • “The decades-long fight against the constitutional right to abortion has never been just about abortion. It is about keeping women in restricted gender roles, raising children instead of working, dependent on male breadwinners and isolated from the political process affecting their lives.” -Executive Director Noreen Farrell in US News & World Report 
2: Black & Latinx women lead policy change

Our Family Voices Amplified study made national headlines, disseminating critical information about what Black and Latinx mothers say they need most to support their families. We spoke with 600+ women in 16 cities across the country about child care costs, debt, generational wealth, and quality work. Through surveys and kitchen table conversations, we were able to make strong policy recommendations to federal lawmakers representing Black and Latinx families’ needs. Read the report.

  • “There are so many communities that rely on the labor, the brilliance, the joy of Black women… If Black women aren’t able to make it, those communities falter. It is imperative that we demand pay equity for Black women because so many of us are leading our communities, organizing against police violence, organizing against systemic anti-Black racism, including in the workplace. We are pushing for change in so many different ways. That needs to be recognized in how we are compensated.” – Deputy Director Delia Coleman in Huffington Post 

 

3: Title IX Turns 50

ERA has been instrumental in shaping and enforcing Title IX since 1974, representing countless students in cases, and working to officially expand and clarify Title IX’s definitions and parameters to ensure ever-increasing equity in education. In 2022, we spoke with Title IX clients from years past, as well as the students and young attorneys currently leading the way, for this powerful short film.

We also continued a legacy of student-led Title IX activism by organizing to submit comments to the U.S. Dept. of Education on its latest proposed changes to Title IX rules, and our Legal team supported students leading classroom walkouts to protest their school’s lack of action on sexual violence and harassment. This work buoyed continued growth of ERA’s Barbara Babcock NextGen Fund, building a multi-generational movement to protect the education, choice, and rights of young leaders across the nation.

 

4: Workers gain crucial new rights

Federally, we proudly supported the Speak Out Act (ending NDAs for sexual harassment claims), Respect for Marriage Act (protecting LGBTQI+ and interracial marriage equality), Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act, Paycheck Fairness Act, Women’s Health Protection Act, Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, and the latest, Protecting Family Caregivers from Discrimination Act.

In California, the ERA-led Stronger CA campaign had a highly successful year resulting in 9 new laws advancing pay equity (more in #5 below); inclusive sick- and family-leave for workers with chosen family (see #6); guaranteed bereavement leave; housing protections for domestic violence survivors; fast food workplace industry standards; and more.

 

5: Pay equity steals the spotlight

From innovative new pay transparency legislation, to President Biden highlighting the importance of pay equity in his State of the Union address, the issue of equal pay had a big year in the spotlight. ERA produced the first Equal Pay Voter Guide with support from our Equal Pay Today coalition partners, and we were invited twice this year to the White House to mark Equal Pay Days.

Leading 36 organizations across the country for 7 equal pay days throughout the year — Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Native Women’s, Moms’, and others — the equal pay day hashtags were seen by millions of people on social media. ERA experts were featured speaking about equal pay in Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, Forbes, The Hill, PBS, Univision, Ebony, Teen Vogue, and more.

 

6: LGBTQI+ workers win new rights

We proudly sponsored, lobbied for, and organized support for California Assembly Bill 1041, which will become law on Jan. 1, 2023. It expands workplace leave laws to include chosen family members, meaning workers can take time off to care for a sick loved one who does not fit traditional definitions of immediate family. This especially benefits LGBTQI workers, and those who live with extended family, including immigrant and/or low-paid workers.

We also led Congress-emailing efforts supporting the federal Respect for Marriage Act, which protects the right to marriage for same-sex and interracial couples.

 

7: Students organize to fight sexual violence

High school students across the country have been leading classroom walkouts to protest their school’s inadequate response to incidents of sexual harassment and assault. ERA was proud to support these students, inviting them to our first Protector’s Roundtable, where we brought together students from different high schools to talk about the challenges and achievements of being Title IX activists at their schools, sharing ideas and supporting one another.

We also advocated for and organized alongside students traditionally left out conversations about sexual violence, co-hosting our first Listening Sessions at Historically Black Colleges and Universities with our friends at End Rape on Campus, and submitting an official comment to the U.S. Dept. of Education urging stronger protections for transgender students.

 

8: Our clients made us cry

Get your tissues ready… No? Just us? Well, we can’t help it. We love our clients so much:

  • “I could not get through this without you. I know this is your job but I don’t feel like just another client…Thank you for believing me and for fighting for me.”
  • “I hope people tell you how amazing you are. I am so grateful for all your help!”
  • “Thank you for the work that you do on behalf of students like me. This conversation has given me hope, and as a Black woman there isn’t much hope running around these days.”
  • “Some of these things are still a bit challenging to share, and I’m grateful for the space given to hopefully find a path for me to move on.”
  • “Thank you for highlighting the importance of my daughter going at her own pace.”
  • “I wanted to thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, and for this amazing follow-up — which I’ve already marked and highlighted aplenty. I feel now more than well-armed in fighting back for my hours, and for better and fair treatment at work.”

 

9: ERA leaders shift the narrative

Our leaders always welcome an opportunity to share our thought leadership with a larger audience via news and media interviews:

Celebrity #MeToo cases

Harvey Weinstein: “In her experience, she said, the argument Weinstein’s defense is raising is becoming less salient with juries. ‘It’s a tactic as old as time,’ she said. ‘If the #MeToo movement has done anything, it has really chipped away at this.’” -Executive Director Noreen Farrell in the San Francisco Chronicle

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp: “We represent the ordinary folks, and now they’re the ones getting threatened all the time. The minute you say you’re a survivor, there’s this concern about defamation.” – Senior Attorney Maha Ibrahim in Mother Jones

“What we like to say is, ‘Pay us more and touch us less.’ It’s not just about the harassment, it is the whole system that values women’s work. When women’s work is valued as it should be, then women have options.” –Noreen Farrell in The 19th

Dobbs, Roe, and the right to abortion access

“Not surprising, and by design, this policy will harm women of color and low paid working women most, exacerbating existing economic inequality.” –Noreen Farrell in Ebony 

Title IX

“The model that I work under as an advocate is the empowerment model, which says we really want to give power back to survivors. So what’s happening when we have these NDAs is that we are further limiting the power of the survivor to decide what path forward is best for them, how and when they want to share their story to communicate with other people to engage in advocacy, and all of that is not great.”- Staff Attorney Kel O’Hara in Prism


Listen

Watch

“Every election year is important, but this one is really a matter of, I would conservatively say, life or death. This is it…If we don’t want our freedom, our healthcare, our childcare, our wages to be stolen from us, I think now is the time to show up.” –Delia Coleman on NBC


Other Notables

“Impartial judges need not consider political ideology; they need only consider these issues in their real-life context… A skilled and pragmatic consensus-building Judge Jackson will bring hers to bear at the Supreme Court and it will be better for it.” –Noreen Farrell in Miami Times

“The pandemic revealed in devastating clarity not just the bias against caregivers, but the lack of structures that then feed the bias. And so the idea that you can go back into the workforce, understand your worth and understand what your male colleagues are making — It’s just critical.” –Noreen Farrell in Teen Vogue

 

10: Tiny feminists made our day

We were delighted to hear from two little girls who spent a weekend selling lemonade to send a surprise donation to our organization, accompanied by this note from one of their parents: “This donation is from 2 8yo girls who sold lemonade for 2 days in the hot sun. They worked so hard to earn this money and they chose your charity to give their hard-earned money!” Thank you, dear Violent and Charlotte, for the $130 donation!

We also received a surprise $10 donation from another favorite little feminist whose mom (Amy Love) we represented in 1978 to challenge inequities in sports.  Thank you, Maddie! 

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