Jenny Brown (feminist)

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Jenny Brown is an organizer in the women's liberation movement and the author of several books on feminism, reproductive rights, and labor.[1][2] She works with National Women’s Liberation, a radical feminist organization of dues-paying women.[3]

Feminist movement work[edit]

Brown began studying radical feminism with Gainesville Women’s Liberation (GWL), which was founded in 1968 and was the first women’s liberation group in the South.[4][5][6] She also worked with the Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement, developing the Redstockings Archives for Action, a repository of women's liberation history and activist resources.[7][8][9] In 2009, GWL and Redstockings collaboratively founded National Women's Liberation (NWL) and Brown became the national organizer of the new group.[10][11]

In 2019, Brown published Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work,[12] in which she argues that the legal impediments to contraception and abortion access, rather than being discounted as products of prudish religious values, are better understood as a struggle over labor. The book argues that the ruling class, fearing the economic consequences of a declining birth rate, restricts access to contraception and abortion, intending to push more women into performing the labor of bearing and raising children. But women, she concludes, are engaged in a sort of labor strike––refusing to perform that labor in a world where they lack affordable healthcare, affordable childcare, paid work leave, job protections, and reliable male partners.

Campaign for access to emergency contraception[edit]

Brown was involved in the campaign to make Plan B, the “morning-after pill,” available over-the-counter in the United States.

In 1999, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found Plan B safe and effective, but approved it only for prescription use.[13] In 2001, a group of reproductive health professionals petitioned the FDA to make it available over-the-counter.[14] The FDA eventually denied the petition in June 2006.[15]

Brown and other NWL activists organized against the FDA.[16] In January 2005, Brown was one of nine women arrested for a sit-in blocking access to the entrance of the FDA headquarters in Maryland, and [17][18] was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that ultimately resulted in a federal court ruling, Tummino v. Hamburg, 936 F. Supp. 2d 162 (E.D.N.Y. 2013), requiring the FDA to make Plan B available over-the-counter, without a prescription and without age restrictions.[19][20]

Brown and NWL continue to advocate for the expansion of access to emergency contraception, including by making it directly available on school campuses and pushing for universal health care.[21][22]

Labor movement work[edit]

In Gainesville, Florida, Brown co-chaired the Alachua County Labor Party for ten years.[23][24][25] She also worked as a writer and editor for Labor Notes and is a frequent contributor to Jacobin.[26][27]


  • Brown, Jenny (2019). Without Apology: The Abortion Struggle Now. New York: Verso Books. ISBN 1788735846.
  • Brown, Jenny (2019). Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work. Oakland: PM Press. ISBN 162963638X.
  • Bradbury, Alexandra; Brenner, Mark; Brown, Jenny; Slaughter, Jane; Winslow, Samantha (2014). How to Jump-Start Your Union: Lessons from the Chicago Teachers. Detroit: Labor Notes. ASIN 0914093010.
  • Brown, Jenny; Coenen, Amy; Sarachild, Kathie (2001). Women's Liberation and National Health Care: Confronting the Myth of America. New York: Redstockings. ISBN 061512187X.


  1. ^ Kral, Linni (2017-01-19). "As Trump Is Sworn In, Women Across America Will Go On Strike". Village Voice. Retrieved 2019-06-23. veteran organizer Jenny Brown
  2. ^ "Book launch/signing to feature author Jenny Brown". The Gainesville Iguana. 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-06-17. [Brown was] for decades a mainstay in Gainesville feminist and labor organizing.
  3. ^ "NWL Hires Long-Time Movement Organizer and Writer Jenny Brown". National Women's Liberation. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  4. ^ Featherstone, Liza (2019-04-23). "Not In Labor". Jacobin. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  5. ^ Giardina, Carol (2019-03-30). "Gainesville, a flashpoint of feminist revolution". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  6. ^ Adams, Leila. "A Timeline of Events that Affected the Development of Gainesville Women's Movement Community". University of Florida Digital Collections: Radical Women in Gainesville Digital Collection. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  7. ^ Featherstone, Liza (2019-04-23). "Not In Labor". Jacobin. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  8. ^ Brown, Jenny (2019). "Women For Peace or Women's Liberation? Signposts From the Feminist Archives". Vietnam Generation. Gender and the War: Men, Women and Vietnam. 1 (3): 246.
  9. ^ "About The Archives". Redstockings. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  10. ^ Tattersall, Jeremiah (2019). "National Women's Liberation – Gainesville Chapter". The Straw Hat Podcast. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  11. ^ "Redstockings Speakers". Redstockings. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  12. ^ Brown, Jenny (2019). Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work. Oakland: PM Press.
  13. ^ Tummino v. Torti, 603 F. Supp. 2d 519, 525 (E.D.N.Y. 2009).
  14. ^ Tummino v. Torti, 603 F. Supp. 2d at 526.
  15. ^ Tummino v. Torti, 603 F. Supp. 2d at 523, 526.
  16. ^ Brown, Jenny; Seguin, Stephanie (2013-06-22). "How We Won the Fight on the Morning-After Pill". HuffPost News. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  17. ^ Chun, Diane (2005-01-11). "Local protesters arrested at FDA". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  18. ^ Brown, Jenny (2005-01-12). "Nine arrested at the FDA; Morning-After Pill decision pending". Notes from the Swamp. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  19. ^ Tummino v. Hamburg, 936 F. Supp. 2d 162 (E.D.N.Y. 2013)
  20. ^ Burch, Audra D.S. (2013-05-06). "Florida women play key role in emergency birth-control case". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  21. ^ Osborn, Olana (2018-07-19). "Feminist group pushes for 'Plan B' vending machine on UF campus". WCJB TV20. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  22. ^ Brown, Jenny (2019-01-17). "Medicare for All Is a Reproductive Rights Issue". Jacobin. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  23. ^ "Jenny Brown Biography". Left Forum. Archived from the original on 2019-11-28. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  24. ^ Tinker, Cleveland (2006-11-30). "Panel Discusses Benefits of Universal Health Care". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  25. ^ Chun, Diane (2016-01-08). "Pickets Favor National Health Care". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  26. ^ "Jenny Brown". Labor Notes. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  27. ^ "Articles by Jenny Brown". Jacobin. Retrieved 2019-06-17.

External links[edit]