Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-27-13

Dorothy Jonas, Feminist Majority Foundation Board Member, Feminist Champion, Remembered

One of the founding board members of the Feminist Majority Foundation in 1987, longtime feminist activist Dorothy Jonas died on June 22 (1921 - 2013).

In the late 1970s Jonas played a pivotal role as a leader in California for the nationwide campaign for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). She chaired numerous celebrity filled events to raise critical funding for the National Organization for Women's (NOW's) campaign in unratified states.

An expert on the impact of court-imposed joint custody agreements and on women and divorce, she was a vigorous advocate of family law reform. In 1985, Eleanor Smeal (NOW's then-president) appointed Jonas to chair the new NOW Task Force on the Rights of Women in Marriage. Together with her daughter Bonnie Sloane, Jonas campaigned successfully to improve legal protection for marital property rights. After a seven-year effort, a landmark bill was signed by California Gov. Pete Wilson in 1991, making California the first state to guarantee full protection of the law for the economic rights of spouses.

"Dorothy was unbelievably determined. She won against overwhelming odds extensive rights for married women. Through many years and many campaigns for women's rights and full equality, I could always turn to Dorothy to take on a key job. I could always count on her know-how and tenacity to get the job done," said Eleanor Smeal, president and co-founder of FMF, and former president of NOW.

Jonas was active in the California Democratic Party and an early member of the powerful Los Angeles based Women's Political Committee, whose aim is to elect more feminist Democratic women to public office.

Says Peg Yorkin, co-founder of the FMF and chair of the board, "If one were to meet Dorothy at a political or social event, she seemed to be a cultured, well-educated and yes, gentle, woman. For those of us who knew her, she was a caring but tough advocate for women's issues. Dorothy was always interested and engaged in women's rights. And she put her considerable intellect and income into the service of both."

Jonas also fought for years to improve treatment for rape survivors and develop needed policy reforms to eliminate discriminatory practices. She was the longtime president of the board of the Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica and founder of The Rape Foundation.

Jonas received numerous awards, from the League of Women Voters to the California Women's Law Center. She was a former chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and a co-founder and chair of the Coalition for Family Equity in Los Angeles.

Media Resources:


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

5/27/2015 California Passes Reproductive FACT Act - The California State Assembly passed the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act yesterday. AB 775, or the FACT Act, passed 48-25 in a vote, and requires that unlicensed facilities in California that provide pregnancy-related services disclose that they are not licensed medical providers. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage - Over the weekend, the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to pass a national referendum legalizing same-sex marriage. Ireland became the first country in the world to pass marriage equality through popular vote on Friday. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Maryland Governor Will Not Veto LGBT Rights Bills - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) has announced that he will not veto two pieces of legislation protecting LGBT rights passed by the state legislature in March, meaning they will soon become law. The Maryland General Assembly passed SB 743 / HB 862 and SB 416 / HB 838 by wide margins and with bipartisan support on March 24, after which both were sent to the Governor's desk. . . .