Hundreds of feminists gathered in Albany, New York this past weekend to celebrate the National Organization for Women’s 40th anniversary. The summit was both tribute to NOW’s founders and past leaders and a conference to discuss current issues within the women’s movement, past successes, and the movement’s future. The summit included speeches from NOW president Kim Gandy; Feminist Majority Foundation president Eleanor Smeal, a former president of NOW; singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco; and actor Tyne Daly.
The conference also featured a march to the state capitol demanding same-sex marriage rights.
Reflecting on the changes over the last 40 years, Gandy said, “Feminism today is what I hoped it would be 30 years ago. It’s my daughters, who are 10 and 13, not just believing they can do anything, but absolutely knowing they can. Unfortunately, we haven’t come quite that far, but it’s so important that our daughters expect equality, because they will demand it when it’s not there.”
While there is still much to be done for women’s equality, feminist leaders are confident that the movement will continue to be a powerful force within society. “I see renewed energy around the country,” said Gandy, “There’s an increased sense that women need to get involved personally and put themselves on the line to make change, that they can’t sit back and say, ‘Let Jane do it’.”