Feminist Majority Foundation

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Feminist Majority Foundation
Formation1987; 36 years ago (1987)
FoundersEleanor Smeal
Peg Yorkin
Katherine Spillar
Toni Carabillo
Judith Meuli
TypeNon-profit organization
PurposeWomen's equality, reproductive health, and non-violence
HeadquartersArlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Eleanor Smeal
Chair of the Board
Peg Yorkin
Executive Director
Katherine Spillar
SubsidiariesMs. magazine

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Arlington County, Virginia, whose stated mission is to advance non-violence and women's power, equality, and economic development.[1] The name Feminist Majority comes from a 1986 Newsweek/Gallup public opinion poll in which 56 percent of American women self-identified as feminists. President and one of the founders, Eleanor Smeal, chose the name to reflect the results of the poll, implying that the majority of women are feminists.

History and structure[edit]

The FMF—an IRS 501(c)(3) tax deductible, non-profit organization—is a research and education organization and the publisher of Ms. magazine. Founded in 1987 by Eleanor Smeal, Peg Yorkin, Katherine Spillar, Toni Carabillo, and Judith Meuli, it has offices in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California. Its chair is Peg Yorkin.[2]

FMF became the publisher of Ms. in 2001,[3] supporting the magazine in becoming a non-profit organization. Co-founded in 1972 by political activist and feminist Gloria Steinem, Ms. is a women's magazine owned and produced by women that publishes articles on the conditions of women in the United States and abroad.[4]

The FMF has several campaigns and programs that deal with Women's Health and Reproductive Rights domestically and abroad, including:

  • National Clinic Access Project
  • Campaign for Women's Health
  • Mifepristone
  • Feminist Campus (Choices Campus Leadership Program)
  • Global Reproductive Rights Campaign
  • Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls[5]
  • Emergency Contraception Initiative
  • National Center for Women and Policing
  • Education Equity Program
  • Rock for Choice[6]


During 1989-92, the FMF conducted the Feminization of Power campaign,[7] recruiting an unprecedented number of women to run for public office, resulting in doubling women's representation in the United States Congress in 1992 (the Year of the Woman). In 1992, FMF helped to secure support for the Iowa Equal Rights Amendment and, in 1996, it helped to counter an anti-(reverse)discrimination ballot measure in California.

In 2004, the Feminist Majority was one of five principal organizers of the "March for Women's Lives", which brought more than 1.15 million women and men to Washington, D.C., in support of reproductive rights.[8] In 2006, FMF failed to overturn an anti-discrimination ballot measure in Michigan (the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, which passed in 2006 and was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2014[9]) and to pass a ballot initiative in South Dakota to repeal a state abortion ban. On March 23 and 24 of 2013, FMF hosted its 9th Annual National Young Feminist Leadership conference in Arlington, Virginia, with speakers such as Dolores Huerta (President, Dolores Huerta Foundation/Co-Founder United Farm Workers/Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom), Morgane Richardson (Founder of Refuse The Silence), Monica Simpson (Executive Director, Sister Song), Ivanna Gonzalez (Who Needs Feminism?).[10]

Despite its declared support of non-violence, the FMF endorsed the war in Afghanistan with the justification that it would help to protect and liberate Afghan women,[11] a position which has been criticized by American politician Tom Hayden in 2011.[12]

Legislative initiatives[edit]

The Feminist Majority has also been a leader in legislative victories for women including amending the Civil Rights Act of 1991 to provide for monetary damages to women who win sexual harassment and sex discrimination lawsuits in court; winning passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; the Violence Against Women Act and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, in 1994; passing the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, in 1996; restoring Title IX, in 1988, and then successfully defending Title IX against the Bush administration's attempts to discourage discrimination against men, in 2003, among other victories.[citation needed] [13] The Feminist Majority continues advocating for U.S. ratification of, both, the United Nations Women's Rights Treaty CEDAW, the Convention to End all forms of Discrimination Against Women) and the International Criminal Court.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mission and principles". feminist.org. Feminist Majority Foundation.
  2. ^ "Peg Yorkin (profile)". feminist.org. Feminist Majority Foundation.
  3. ^ Farmer, Rebecca (November 12, 2001). "Ms. Magazine and Feminist Majority Foundation Join Forces". National NOW Times. National Organization for Women. Archived from the original on June 4, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Smeal, Eleanor; Steinem, Gloria (Spring 2002). "Dear Reader". Ms.: 1. Archived from the original on 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  5. ^ Mann, Judy (July 9, 1999). "The Grinding Terror of the Taliban". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ Neely, Kim (March 1993). "The fight for the right to choose". Rolling Stone. Vol. 652, no. 22.
  7. ^ Leyva, Ric (October 14, 1987). "Former Now President Kicks Off". Associated Press. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  8. ^ Clock, Michele; Wilgoren, Debbi; Woodlee, Yolanda (April 25, 2004). "Abortion Rights Advocates Flood D.C". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ Adler, Jonathan (April 22, 2014). "Supreme Court upholds Michigan civil rights initiative". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ "National Young Feminist Leadership Conference (2013 NYFLC)". feministcampus.org. Feminist Majority Foundation. Archived from the original on 2014-09-23. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  11. ^ Sheehi, Stephen (2011). Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims. Clarity Press. p. 113. ISBN 9780932863676.
  12. ^ Hayden, Tom (25 May 2011). "Pentagon Enlists Feminists for War Aims". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Speakers". now.org. National Organization for Women. 2015. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26.

External links[edit]