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2023 marks a multitude of milestones – among them, 50 years since the founding by Gloria Steinem and other feminists of two iconic organizations, the Ms. Foundation for Women and Ms. Magazine. Join us to hear from feminist leaders, activists, and stakeholders from both Ms. entities, including Irin Carmon, Shawnda Chapman, and Joanne Smith, as they engage in a critical conversation about the future of feminism – from storytelling to activism, and journalism to philanthropy – and all it demands: vision that is bold, imaginative, and collaborative. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, who leads partnerships and strategy at Ms. magazine and is executive director of NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center, will moderate.
We will also celebrate the release of the new anthology 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine that Ignited a Revolution (Knopf, Sept. 2023) – five decades of the magazine’s most startling, audacious, and norm-breaking pieces. Filled with iconic covers, photos, and letters to Ms., the book is as much a reflection of the past 50 years as it is a roadmap for the path forward.
Irin Carmon is a senior correspondent at New York magazine, where she covers gender, law, politics, and more. She is co-author of the New York Times bestselling book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is currently on leave to work on her next book, Unbearable: Being Pregnant in America.
Shawnda Chapman is the Ms. Foundation's Director of Innovative Grantmaking and Research. Prior to joining the organization, Shawnda worked as a lead program specialist on a national initiative aimed at preventing and ending girls’ incarceration at the Vera Institute of Justice. She also served as Director of the Beyond the Bars Fellowship program at the Center for Justice at Columbia University. Partially based on her own experiences, her work has focused on racial justice, gender justice, and understanding the ways girls of color get pushed into the criminal justice system. With a particular focus on marginalized and vulnerable populations, Shawnda has broad experience developing as well as implementing research, monitoring, and evaluation materials both domestically and internationally.
Shawnda sits on the board of Black Women’s Blueprint, a transnational organization that works to end all forms of violence against Black women and girls. She also serves on the advisory board of Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement, an initiative that works to increase refugee access to tertiary education. Shawnda earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Master of Science degree in Applied Social Research from The City University of New York, Hunter College.
Joanne N. Smith (she/her) is the founding President & CEO of Girls for Gender Equity. A queer Haitian-American social worker born in New York, she is a staunch human rights advocate. Smith co-chaired the nation’s first Young Women’s Initiative, a coordinated government, philanthropic, and community effort to create conditions for cis, trans girls of color and gender-expansive youth to thrive. She is the co-founder of The Black Girl Freedom Fund and the #1Billion4BlackGirls Campaign, a 10-year initiative to invest $1 billion towards advancing Black girls. She serves on several steering committees and boards to support the advancement of gender and racial equity. An alumna of Hunter Graduate School of Social Work and Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management, Smith co-authored Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets. Girls for Gender Equity’s work to combat sexual violence is featured in the documentary Anita: Speak Truth to Power and Surviving R. Kelly Part II: & III. Smith has received numerous awards, including the Ms. Foundation 2018 Woman of Vision Award, the Visionary Award from A Call to Men, and See The Best In Me 2022 Equity Award from Gwen’s Girls. Smith is married with a daughter and resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf leads partnerships and strategy at Ms. magazine, while serving as executive director of NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center. A passionate writer on and advocate for issues of gender and politics, she was dubbed the “architect of the U.S. campaign to squash the tampon tax” by Newsweek. She is a contributor to 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine that Ignited a Revolution. Her 2017 book Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity was lauded by Gloria Steinem as “the beginning of liberation for us all.” Her forthcoming book, Period. Full Stop. The Politics of Menopause will be published by NYU Press in 2025. Jen’s writing and work have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, Oprah Daily, NPR, PBS, and NowThis, among others.