Amending America: Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

AA-ExhibitMark-Color-1Date: October 21, 2016
Time: 9am – 4pm ET
Location: Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004

Watch the livestream

The National Archives and Records Administration presents a National Conversation on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality at the National Archives at New York City in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York City on October 21, 2016.

On Friday October 21, at 9:30am, Dorothy Dougherty, Programs Director, National Archives at New York City; Machel Monenerkit, Deputy Director, National Museum of the American Indian; Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10); Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City Council; and David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States will open the National Conversation. At 10am, Soledad O’Brien and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt will discuss the current state of women’s rights and gender equality in the United States.

Andrea Flynn of the Roosevelt Institute will moderate a discussion on gender equality and human rights at 11:15am, including Suzan Shown Harjo, The Morning Star Institute; Alondra Nelson, Columbia University; and Allida Black, George Washington University.

Following a lunch break, at 1:15pm, the National Conversation will resume with a distinguished panel on current issues facing women today, including health/reproduction rights, family issues, race, and violence. This panel will be moderated by Andrea Flynn and includes Noreen Farrell, Equal Rights Advocates; Suzanne Braun Levine, Ms. Magazine; and Stephanie Toti, Center for Reproductive Rights.

At 2:30pm, Soledad O’Brien will moderate a panel on financial empowerment and challenges facing women in business, technology, and education, with Marianne Schnall,; Dana Edell, SPARK; Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D., Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women and author of How Exceptional Black Women Lead; and Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.

At 3:30pm, poet Aja Monet will perform. The National Conversation on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality will conclude with a closing keynote address by Joelle Gamble of the Roosevelt Institute at 3:45pm.

Related Records at the National Archives

Form Letter, Asking Women to Petition Congress, 1865

Indictment for illegal voting, 1872

Indictment of Margaret Sanger, 1914

19th Amendment

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) of 1972

Title IX

Ludtke v Kuhn, 1977

About the Speakers

roosevelt Keynote Conversation: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (known as Anne) is the President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, an influential non-profit social enterprise that creates jobs, delivers needed services for people with diverse challenges, uses environmentally friendly products and processes – all while earning revenue to fund innovative workforce programs that empower individuals and families to find stability through work. Anne joined Goodwill in 2011 from The Boeing Company in Chicago, where she had held the position of Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship.  Anne’s career has encompassed leadership positions in philanthropy, public policy, politics, the arts and higher education. Currently, Anne chairs The Roosevelt Institute in New York.  Anne serves on the Boards of the Maine Community Foundation and the Jim Browne Foundation; she is a Fellow at the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. Anne holds a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, and a Master of Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

soledad Keynote Conversation: Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist. She is CEO of the Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on range of social issues. O’Brien’s anchors and produces the Heart Television political magazine program “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien.” She also reports regularly for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and PBS NewsHour. She has appeared as an anchor or contributor on all three networks, is Philanthropy Editor of Worth Magazine and is a frequent author of of op-ed pieces for publications like the New York Daily News and the Huffington Post. O’Brien, who was anchor of two CNN morning news programs and their documentary unit, created the “In America” documentary series. “Black in America” and “Latino in America” which continue to be produced under SMG and are subjects of an annual speaking tour.  She also speaks on a variety of social issues at college campuses and corporate events. Earlier in her career, O’Brien co-anchored on “Weekend Today”, and contributed segments to the “Today” show and “NBC Nightly News.” In 2003, O’Brien transitioned to CNN, where she was the face of CNN’s morning news shows for many years. O’Brien’s coverage three Emmy awards. Her coverage of Hurricane Katrina earned her and CNN a George Foster Peabody Award. She also received another Peabody Award for her coverage of the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Her reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami garnered CNN an Alfred I. DuPont Award. She is also the author of two books, her critically acclaimed memoir “The Next Big Story” and “Latino in America.” O’Brien was named journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists and one of Newsweek magazine’s “10 People who Make America Great.” In 2013, O’Brien taught at Harvard University as a Distinguished Fellow and was appointed to the board of directors of the National Archives Foundation.  In 2015, O’Brien joined the RAND Corporation’s Board of Trustees. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, O’Brien and her husband, Brad, created the Soledad O’Brien & Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation to help young women get to and through college. This year, they will provide funding to 25 deserving young women. O’Brien lives in New York with her husband and four children.

blackAllida Black is the Managing Director of the Allenswood Group, LLC, a collaborative founded to empower individuals and strengthen democracy through civic engagement, grassroots activism and education. She is known around the world for her efforts to help civic leaders, elected officials, and teachers incorporate human rights practices in their programs, policies, and classrooms. Her career spans public service and the academy. She helped found the Voter Empowerment Project, trained aspiring women candidates across the nation and a developed a mentoring program for the State Department and the UN High Commission for Human Rights. She has also managed the  Women’s Political Participation Team for the  National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She is Research Professor of History at The George Washington University; Editor Emeritus/Advisory Board Chair of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, a project she designed to preserve, teach and apply ER’s discussions of human rights; and a Senior Fellow at the Women’s Research and Education Institute.

EdellDana Edell is an activist-scholar-artist and the executive director of SPARK Movement (, an intergenerational girls’ activist organization where she collaborates with girls to launch successful action campaigns including a media campaign that led to Seventeen Magazine’s public promise to never Photoshop girl models and to commit to race and body size diversity in their pages. She trains and supports girls (ages 13-22) to take action, produce theater, create videos and write blogs. She partnered with Google to create and launch SPARK: Women on the Map, a cellphone app that maps women’s history globally. Dana also consults with organizations to create feminist curricula for youth programs. She was also the co-founder/executive director of viBe Theater Experience (, from 2002-2012 and has produced and directed more than 70 original plays, 7 albums of new music, and 8 arts-based resource guidebooks, all written and performed by girls. Through her writing, presentations and media appearances, she advocates for girls’ activism and the need for performing arts experiences for girls. Dana was co-chair of the Girls’ Participation Task Force at the United Nations and she teaches Theatre and Activism at New York University and the City University of New York. Dana has a BA with honors in Classics/Ancient Greek from Brown University, an MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University and a PhD in Educational Theatre from NYU.


Noreen Farrell is the Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national non-profit that has advanced groundbreaking efforts on behalf of women and girls for over 40 years through policy reform, litigation, community education, and movement building. Noreen is a nationally recognized leader on a variety of gender justice issues. She has led ERA’s impact litigation to end sex discrimination in school and the workplace, including sexual harassment and violence, pregnancy and caregiver discrimination, pay and promotion discrimination, and the denial of equal opportunities. From trials to the United States Supreme Court, Noreen has represented thousands of women and girls, including janitors, firefighters, retail workers, professors, miners, tech workers, restaurant and retail workers, female student athletes, and victims of college sexual assault. Noreen also leads bold policy reform to improve the lives of women and girls and their families. She chairs the national fair pay campaign Equal Pay Today!, a collaboration of 20 of the country’s leading worker and women’s rights organizations working in six states and at the federal level to close the pay gap, which costs women billions of dollars each year. Last year, Noreen led California’s successful passage of one of the strongest equal pay laws in the country, which was the centerpiece of a broader women’s economic security campaign chaired by ERA, Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunities for All Women. The campaign is driving comprehensive policy reform to address poverty, child care, fair pay and job opportunities, and family-friendly workplaces in California, and serves as a model for other states and federal law change. Noreen lectures and publishes widely on civil rights matters. She has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, National Public Radio, and various television outlets. She has been named one of the Top Women Leaders in Law, Top 100 Women Lawyers in California, and a 2014 Top Legal Innovator.

flynnAndrea Flynn is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where she researches and writes about issues that impact women and families. She explores connections between reproductive health care and poverty, state-level restrictions to family planning and abortion, inequality and maternal mortality, and various economic policies that impact the economic security of women and families. Andrea co-authored Roosevelt’s recent report, Rewrite the Racial Rules, which examines how systemic racism impacts the economic wellbeing of black Americans. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, Cosmopolitan, Salon, The Hill, and Women’s eNews. Andrea received her MPA and MPH from Columbia University, and her BA in journalism and women’s studies from Syracuse University. You can follow Andrea on Twitter @dreaflynn.

gambleJoelle Gamble is the Director of the Roosevelt Institute’s national network of emerging thinkers and doers. Under Joelle’s leadership, Roosevelt has dramatically increased the number of student policy change efforts it supports. The network has also seen a marked increase in the racial, socioeconomic and gender diversity of its national student leadership—with chapters at both four-year institutions and community colleges. Prior to coming to the Roosevelt Institute, Joelle, as a student organizer in the University of California Student Association, worked on political campaigns related to tax reform and budgetary priorities. Joelle also writes on topics of race and economics. She has been featured in places such at Fox Business, The Nation, Salon, The Hill, The Huffington Post and NextCity. Fusion named her one of 30 women under 30 who are influencing the 2016 election.

deweeverDr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D. is a Career Reinvention Strategist, Diversity Consultant, and Women’s Empowerment Expert.  She’s the author of the new book, How Exceptional Black Women Lead, and Founder of the Exceptional Leadership Institute for Women, a global personal and professional development firm that helps established and aspiring entrepreneurs and executives experience accelerated success while building a holistic life they love.  She’s also the President of Incite Unlimited, a Washington, DC-based boutique consulting firm specializing in diversity consulting, communications strategy and the development and implementation of impactful research. Dr. Avis formerly served as the youngest ever Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women, a historic membership organization touching the lives of over four million women of African descent worldwide.  She’s had the honor of being the Keynote Speaker to the Inaugural President of the United States’ Young African Leaders Summit and was a Featured Speaker before the World Bank.  She currently conducts workshops and trainings on women’s career and entrepreneurial success on behalf of U.S. Embassies across the globe and helps corporations better design and implement strategies to maximize the power of diversity and inclusion at work as well as for the marketplace of today and tomorrow. For individuals, Dr. Avis coaches one-on-one, in small groups, and through online courses in order to help her clients Master the Art of the Career Shift.  In so doing, she helps women shift their careers in three distinct areas: (1) ascending to leadership within their current professional space; (2) safely and effectively transitioning to a new career; or (3) making the ultimate shift, from employee to successful entrepreneur. As a prolific writer, Dr. Jones-DeWeever is the author or co-author of numerous publications, a selection of which include:  The State of Black Women in the U.S. 2014, 2015, and 2016; Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security; and Black Girls in New York:  Quiet Strength, Bold Resilience. Dr. Avis has been named to theGrio100, recognized by the Women’s Media Center as one of thirty women making history, acknowledged by BET as one of the most influential women in Washington, DC, and recognized as a “National Shining Star” by the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women.  She’s a regular panelist and Guest Host on TV One’s NewsOneNow, PBS’ To The Contrary, and Sirius XM’s The Agenda.  She’s also a Contributor to the Huffington Post, Clutch Magazine, and Black Enterprise.  Her perspectives have been shared in various other domestic and international media outlets, including CNN, BET, C-Span, BBC, CBC, ARISE TV, NPR, Radio One, The Washington Post, USA Today, Ebony Magazine, Glamour Magazine, and many more. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Black Women’s Blueprint, the Voter Participation Center, the Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote Action Fund, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She also serves as an Affiliated Scholar with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and as the Sr. Public Policy Advisor to the Black Women’s Roundtable. Find out more by logging onto  Also, be sure to follow her on Twitter and Periscope @SistahScholar.

levineSuzanne Braun Levine was the first editor of Ms. magazine and the first woman to edit the Columbia Journalism Review. She reports on the changes in women’s lives in her books, on her website, television, radio and as a blogger. Her most recent eBook CAN MEN HAVE IT ALL? (Shebooks/2014) examines the changing role of fatherhood and the state of the work-life balance for modern couples. Her first eBook YOU GOTTA HAVE GIRLFRIENDS– A Post-Fifty Posse is Good For Your Health is a continuation of her ongoing conversation with women in second adulthood, the new stage of life she celebrated in her popular books: Inventing the Rest of Our Lives, 50 Is the New Fifty and How We Love Now. She co-authored (with Mary Thom) Bella Abzug, a widely acclaimed oral history of the New York Congresswoman. While at Ms. she conceived and produced the Peabody Award-winning HBO Special She’s Nobody’s Baby: American Women in the 20th Century (to be shown at the Black Bear Film Festival later this month) and edited the book based on the documentary. She was honored as a “Ms. Woman of the Year” in 2004. She is featured in MAKERS: Women Who Make America an ongoing AOL and PBS video initiative showcasing trailblazing women.

NelsonAlondra Nelson is professor of sociology and gender studies and Dean of Social Science at Columbia University, where she was formerly director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is founding co-director of the Columbia University Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies Council. Prior to joining Columbia in 2009, Nelson was on the faculty of Yale University and received its Poorvu Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching Excellence. An award-winning author, her books include, most recently, The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. Her essays, reviews, and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Science, Boston Globe, and on National Public Radio. The recipient of Ford, Woodrow Wilson, and Mellon fellowships, Nelson serves on the program committee of the YWCA of New York City and on the board of advisors of the Data and Society Research Institute. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California at San Diego, she earned her M.Phil. and Ph.D. from New York University.

schnallMarianne Schnall is a widely published writer and interviewer whose writings and interviews have appeared in a variety of media outlets including O Magazine, Marie Claire,, InStyle,,, AOL BUILD, the Women’s Media Center, and many others. Marianne is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a contributor to the nationally syndicated NPR radio show, 51 Percent: The Women’s Perspective. Schnall is the founder and Executive Director of, a leading women’s website and nonprofit organization. For over 20 years, has been fostering awareness, education, and activism for people all across the world. She is also the cofounder of, one of the oldest environmental websites promoting earth-friendly living. Marianne’s latest book is What Will It Take to Make A Woman President?: Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power, featuring interviews with politicians, public officials, thought leaders, writers, artists, and activists in an attempt to discover the obstacles that have held women back and what needs to change in order to get more women in leadership. With insights and personal anecdotes from Sheryl Sandberg, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Nancy Pelosi, Nicholas Kristof, Melissa Etheridge, Olympia Snowe, and many more, this book addresses timely, provocative issues involving women, politics, and power. She is also the author of Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice. Through her writings, interviews, and websites, Marianne strives to raise awareness and inspire activism around important issues and causes. You can visit her web site at


Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Muscogee), a writer, curator and policy advocate, has helped Native Peoples protect sacred places and recover more than one million acres of land. She has developed key laws in five decades to promote and protect Native nations, sovereignty, children, arts, cultures, lands, languages, religious freedom, repatriation, sacred places and water, and has helped to end over 2,000 racist stereotypes in American sports. The Morning Star Institute President and an award-winning Indian Country Today Media Network Columnist, she is Guest Curator and Editor of the National Museum of the American Indian’s exhibit (2014-2018) and book (Smithsonian/NMAI Press 2014), both titled, Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations. President Obama presented her with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor (2014). A 2016 National Women’s History Month Honoree, she was honored with the 2015 Native Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians, which she served as Executive Director during the 1980s. Native American Rights Fund Legislative Liaison, she was Special Assistant–Indian Legislation & Liaison, Carter Administration, and Principal Author, President’s Report to Congress on American Indian Religious Freedom (1979).  She was the first to be awarded two Sovereignty Symposium Medals, as an Honored One (2015) and for Leadership (2016); the first woman to receive the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree (2011); the first Vine Deloria, Jr. Distinguished Indigenous Scholar (University of Arizona, 2008); the first person awarded back-to-back residency fellowships by the School for Advanced Research (for Poetry and as a Summer Scholar); and the first Native woman Montgomery Fellow (1992, Dartmouth College).

simmonsRachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to empower young women to be more authentic, assertive and self-aware. Rachel is a Vassar graduate and Rhodes Scholar from New York. The co-founder of Girls Leadership, she is an experienced curriculum writer and educator. She currently develops leadership programs for undergraduates at the Wurtele Center for Work and Life at Smith College, and is the Tylis Family Girls Research Scholar in Residence at the Hewitt School in New York. She has previously worked as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts and South Africa. Rachel was the host of the PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life,” and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, and Slate. Rachel serves on the board of the College Women’s Leadership Educators affiliate of the AAUW, and is on the Council of Advisors for the Wellesley Centers for Women. Rachel has appeared on Oprah and is a regular contributor to Good Morning America and Time. Odd Girl Out was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie. Rachel lives in western Massachusetts with her daughter. For more information, please visit

totiStephanie Toti is a Senior Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she has worked since 2006.  Her practice focuses on protecting reproductive rights and promoting reproductive justice through constitutional litigation and related advocacy.  She successfully argued Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt to the Supreme Court, which struck down key provisions of a Texas TRAP law that would have shuttered dozens of abortion clinics.  In addition, she has litigated challenges to restrictive abortion laws throughout the United States, including Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia, and has partnered with the City of Baltimore, Maryland, to defend a first-in-the-nation ordinance regulating the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers.  Before joining the Center, Stephanie worked as an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP.  In addition, she clerked for the Hon. Nina Gershon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  She earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from Fordham University, where she studied Political Science and Mathematics.  Stephanie also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at:

About the National Archives at New York City

The National Archives at New York City has more than 150,000 cubic feet of historically significant records of some 85 Federal agencies and courts in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands dating from 1685 to the present. Visit our Research Center, to search original documents from our holdings, as well as online and microfilmed materials. Browse our small exhibit gallery in the Welcome Center or stop by our Learning Center for a variety of educational programs, including teacher workshops, student field trips, genealogy workshops, lectures, family activities and more.

About the National Archives Foundation

The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at:

About Smithsonian’s National Museum of the Native American

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. NMAI is committed to amplifying Native voices throughout the museum’s publications and communication channels, as well as each of its three venues. The museum is also dedicated to acting as a resource for the hemisphere’s Native communities and to serving the greater public as an honest and thoughtful conduit to Native cultures—present and past—in all their richness, depth, and diversity. Visit to learn more.

The “National Conversation on Rights and Justice” is presented in part by AT&T, Ford Foundation, Seedlings Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the National Archives Foundation.

Special thanks to Perkins Coie for their support in this event in New York City.