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

10/17/2014 Student Activists Across the Country Are Fighting Extreme Anti-Abortion Ballot Measures - In Tennessee, North Dakota, and Colorado - three states deciding ballot measures aimed at restricting birth control access and outlawing abortion in the upcoming election - student activists are mobilizing to get out the vote. Members of student-led Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance group Vanderbilt Feminists at Vanderbilt University have been working tirelessly to get out the word about Tennessee's Amendment 1, which would take the right of privacy for reproductive rights out of the state constitution and give local legislators the power to restrict access to abortion, even in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman, and outlaw many forms of birth control, such as the IUD or the pill. . . .
 
10/17/2014 Boko Haram Claims Kidnapped Chibok Girls Will Be Released Monday - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigeria's military are reportedly negotiating the release of the nearly 300 young women and girls who were abducted by Boko Haram more than six months ago, ostensibly bringing an end to six months of activist efforts calling for their return. An adviser to President Jonathan, Hassan Tukur, told Voice of America that President Jonathan and the self-described "secretary-general of Boko Haram," Danladi Ahmadu, have been in talks in Saudi Arabia regarding the over 270 schoolgirls abducted by the extremist group in April. . . .
 
10/16/2014 Prosecutors Claim South Carolina's Stand Your Ground Law Doesn't Apply to Domestic Violence Survivors - According to South Carolina prosecutors, the state's Stand Your Ground law, which allows people to use force to defend themselves when faced with "great bodily injury," is an unfit defense for domestic violence victims who live with their attackers. . . .