Meet the women and men who are championing women's rights in California. These inspiring leaders are organizing, mobilizing, leading movements, developing new frameworks, working on cutting-edge legislation and igniting innovation in philanthropy. They are improving women's health, safety and economic wellbeing but, most important, they’re leading with courage and love for their communities and our state. Start a conversation with us on social media using #WomenLeadCA and #LeadersinActionCA.
Noreen Farrell, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) has been working to close the gender pay gap, leading the efforts to pass what is now the nation’s toughest anti-discrimination law and continuing those efforts with a new bill that will disrupt salary discrimination as we know it.
When Gina Clayton founded Essie Justice Group with the mission to harness the collective power of women with incarcerated loved ones in 2014, she had one critical challenge. While the number of women with a family member in prison suggests prevalence—one in four women and nearly half of Black women have a loved one behind bars—isolation and the stigma made affected women hard to find. But a conversation with a man inside a prison sparked the idea for Essie’s most innovative and promising movement building strategy yet.
The son of an immigrant single mother, California state senator Kevin de León has an intimate understanding of women’s hardships, especially those faced by low-income women and women of color. “I have the political space and credibility to act upon polices that are critical for the overall wellbeing of families, particularly single mothers,” he said. As the highest-ranking Democrat in Sacramento, de León is now using his power to elevate the state’s economy by advocating for women.
Child care is not a luxury, but a necessity for working mothers. It is key to both women’s and children’s success, said Mary Ignatius, who organizes women to advocate for increased public investments in subsidized child care as an organizer at Parent Voices. For low-income and many middle-income women, subsidized child care is out of reach. At this very moment, some 200,000 children are on a three-year waitlist. In the meantime, their parents struggle to make ends meet, unable to find and keep full-time work.