The Feminist Majority Foundation hosts annual Global Women’s Rights Awards

Earlier this month, in Los Angeles, the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) was joined by some of the most inspiring women’s rights activists who have been on the frontlines of the fight for equality for the 16th annual Global Women’s Rights Awards. Awards were given to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of three women in particular that have tirelessly worked to advance equality: former Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Dr. Austin Dennard, and Sahra Mani. 

Former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney received the Champion of Equality Award from FMF co-founder and president Ellie Smeal, alongside Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. Known for her unwavering support for women’s rights during her congressional tenure, Maloney continues her advocacy today by leading the national Sign4ERA petition drive. Her dedication to securing the final ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment aims to enshrine women’s equality in the Constitution and establish a national legal standard banning all forms of sex discrimination. In her acceptance speech, Maloney stated, “In my 30 years in Congress, we have never been closer.”

The second award was presented to OB-GYN and activist, Dr. Austin Dennard, by actor Amy Brenneman. Dr. Dennard received the Courage Award for her bravery in stepping forward to tell her abortion story and becoming one of 22 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Texas’ extreme abortion bans. After learning that her fetus had anencephaly and would not properly develop the brain or skull, Dr. Dennard traveled out of state in order to not be forced to carry her nonviable pregnancy to term and put her own health at risk. This lawsuit marks the first time women have sued a state over abortion access since the Dobbs decision. 

Finally, the Sahra Mani and the Bread and Roses documentary team were awarded the Mavis Leno Award for Global Women’s Rights. Philanthropist and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno, philanthropist and FMF board member Mavis Leno, and Dr. Sima Samar, former head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, presented this award to Mani, the film’s director. Bread and Roses offers an inside look into the resistance of Afghan women against the Taliban in Kabul. The film follows three Afghan women and shows how their lives have changed following the Taliban takeover in 2021 and their courageous defiance in the face of gender apartheid. Bread and Roses will be released on June 21, 2024.  

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