Two Pre-eminent Feminist Institutions See Strength in Combination
NEW YORK, WASHINGTON, D.C. AND LOS ANGELES – In a joint statement released today in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, a cutting-edge feminist research and action organization, and Marcia Ann Gillespie, President of Liberty Media for Women, LLC, announced that the Feminist Majority Foundation will be assuming ownership of Liberty Media for Women, the publisher of Ms. magazine.
“This is the perfect marriage of information and action,” said Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine. “I cannot imagine a better gift for Ms. readers than a future strengthened by synergy with the Feminist Majority Foundation and the leadership of Ellie Smeal.”
“Ms. magazine is a trailblazing institution that has over its 30-year history changed countless women’s lives and raised multiple generations of feminists. The magazine has provided the feminist movement with a unique, unfiltered voice. We are committed to making sure that the Ms. voice thrives as the forum for challenging conventional ideas and a springboard for the development and spread of feminist ideas,” said Smeal.
Gloria Steinem, chair of Liberty Media for Women and consulting editor of Ms., said “Thanks to the women investors who bought Ms. in 1999, we have not only been able to control our own financial destiny again, but to take time investigating proposals for the future. It’s clear that the Feminist Majority Foundation is the best choice. For a current and poignant example, international news has been the most valued part of Ms.’s coverage, and the Global Feminism Project of the Feminist Majority Foundation, including support for Afghan women, has been unique. In the light of the terrorist crisis, it is even more clear that we must create a stronger future together.”
Peg Yorkin, chair of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said, “Ms. is more than a magazine; it is a movement. The Feminist Majority Foundation is more than an organization; it is a movement. This combination will strengthen Ms., the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the feminist movement as a whole.”
Co-founded by Gloria Steinem in 1972, Ms. quickly became a national and international forum for new ideas and issues, investigative journalism, fiction, the arts, political coverage, humor, women’s health, and international women’s news. As the source of many books, movies, television series, and prize-winning investigative articles, Ms. has been recognized as one of the most influential magazines in history.
After its sale in 1987 to Fairfax, an Australian publishing group–and its subsequent sale to Lang Communications in 1989, and to MacDonald Communications in 1996, publishers of Ms. maintained editorial independence, but lost control of its financial life. In 1998 , Gloria Steinem and Marcia Gillespie gathered 14 women investors and established Liberty Media for Women which purchased Ms. from MacDonald.
The newly women-owned Ms., which has been ad-free since 1990, was relaunched in 1999. That same year the company successfully launched the Ms. website, www.msmagazine.com, and in October 2000 held the magazine’s first major conference. The Feminist Majority Foundation with its considerable direct mail, website, conference and campus organizing expertise will continue to expand the magazine’s readerbase.
Since its founding in 1987 by feminist leader Eleanor Smeal and philanthropist Peg Yorkin, the Feminist Majority Foundation has charted new ground for the feminist movement both domestically and globally. Yorkin’s endowment is the largest gift ever made to a women’s organization in the history of the feminist movement. The Feminist Majority Foundation led the campaign to bring mifepristone (RU 486) to the United States. The Feminist Majority Foundation was the first U.S. organization to launch a campaign to stop gender apartheid in Afghanistan.###