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

2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
 
2/27/2015 Houston Is Finally Testing a Backlog of Thirty-Year-Old Rape Kits - The city of Houston, Texas has finally begun testing decades-old rape kits - and in just one week, those have led to hundreds of leads. Houston is one of the first of the major cities nation-wide to clear their backlog of over 6,000 untested rape kit s- some of which were more than thirty years old. . . .
 
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .