A BLOG BY SHANNON FISHER
The Authentic Woman, a weekly radio show highlighting the wide variety of experiences women have in America, is airing a special edition on Sunday, August 24 at 8 p.m. EDT aimed solely at sharing information about all of the issues affecting women in America. The show will feature the presidents of two national women’s organizations: Terry O’Neill (National Organization for Women) and Karen Teegarden (UniteWomen.org). The pair will highlight the economic, social, political and societal issues facing women in America today.
“Terry and Karen spend most of their waking hours dedicated to the betterment of the world for women,” said Shannon Fisher, host of The Authentic Woman. “I invited them as my expert panel on the topic of women’s rights due to the urgency with which we must address women’s issues within our national and local governments.”
“Since 2010, there have been a number of bills supporting women that passed in the Senate but were blocked in the House, as well as some anti-women bills that passed in the House but were blocked by the Senate,” said Teegarden. “The legislative balance in Congress is very delicate; we need more candidates who support women in the House of Representatives and to make sure women-friendly legislators maintain control of the Senate. If the 2014 elections do not turn out in our favor, our fight for women’s equality will face even more virulent opposition.”
“Women continue to perceive the inequality and injustices in our society; much of which come from institutions actively working to keep women down,” said O’Neill. “This inequality and injustice are faced by people of color, the LGBTQIA communities – indeed all marginalized communities, and are felt even more strongly for those whose identities results in interlocking societal oppressions.”
O’Neill continued, “There is an active cultural war with the intention of ‘putting women in their place,’ particularly demonizing single mothers. Conservative leaders are pushing the idea that all of women’s concerns would disappear if they would live in a nuclear family with traditional gender roles. Their only suggestion for access to health care, economic security and other concerns is marriage and dependency on a mate. It is crucial that we elect women-friendly candidates to halt this war.”
“There are several campaigns in this country that are organized with the intention of sending our society backwards in time into a patriarchal model that no longer fits the modern family and modern economy,” added Fisher. “Our legislatures need to pass legislation that is in keeping with society as it exists today, not as it existed in a time in history that can never be re-created. I am looking forward to this discussion with Terry O’Neill and Karen Teegarden to really reach our listeners and hopefully give them a wider perspective on many women’s issues. ”
“I am eager to talk about these issues and impart to the listeners how important the upcoming elections are at both the local and national levels. We are going to explain many topics in detail so women will understand why it is so important for them to get to the polls in November and vote!” said Teegarden. “We thought we got past this outdated ideology years ago, but it slowly crept back into the forefront of the public conversation around the country and has now reached a fever pitch,” she added. “Our young people have never experienced the cultural stereotypes from the 1950s that are being thrust upon us in legislative bodies all over the country in 2014. My hope is that they never do have to experience the lack of independence and autonomy that women experienced before the feminist revolution. We will address young people directly during the show and help them relate to the history that we are fighting to keep in the history books instead of the law books.”
“Most of the topics we will discuss in the show are not debatable in my mind, in regards to what helps women and what does not. And yet, opposition persists,” said Fisher. “I normally steer clear of political topics on The Authentic Woman, but the issues we will be discussing are so universally important to all women – regardless of race, socio-economic status, political ideology and marital status that I feel strongly compelled to have a public conversation about the State of Women’s Rights in this country right now. There seems to be a lack of compassion in society as a whole that must be addressed. Hopefully some listeners will have an ‘Ah-ha moment’ while learning about the manner in which women in all demographics are affected by legislation around the country.”
The show will air at 8 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 24. Listen on Blog Talk Radio or link to the broadcast via the Authors on the Air website. (UPDATE: The podcast of this powerful interview is now available using the same links.)
About Terry O’Neill: Terry O’Neill, a feminist attorney, professor and activist for social justice, was elected president of NOW in June 2009. She is also president of the NOW Foundation and chair of the NOW Political Action Committees. O’Neill oversees NOW’s multi-issue agenda, which includes: advancing reproductive freedom, promoting diversity and ending racism, stopping violence against women, winning LGBTQIA rights, ensuring economic justice, ending sex discrimination and achieving constitutional equality for women.
O’Neill’s feminist activism began in the 1990s, fighting right-wing extremists in the Deep South, including David Duke. A former law professor, O’Neill taught at Tulane in New Orleans and at the University of California at Davis, where her courses included feminist legal theory and international women’s rights law, in addition to corporate law and legal ethics. She has testified before committees in the Maryland House of Delegates and has written federal amicus briefs on abortion rights for Louisiana NOW, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union. O’Neill holds a bachelor’s degree in French with distinction from Northwestern University and a law degree magna cum laude from Tulane University.
About Karen Teegarden: Karen Teegarden is the President and CEO of UniteWomen.org and UniteWomen.org ACTION. After having held 55 simultaneous rallies in 45 States as Unite Against the War on Women, to shine a spotlight on the influx of anti-women legislation and rhetoric around the country, Teegarden parlayed the event network into a national women’s rights organization, UniteWomen.org. She manages UniteWomen.org’s broad range of issues which include economic equality, reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, violence against women, Unite Against Rape, voting rights, any type of injustice that affects women and their families, the environment and achieving full equality in our Constitution.
Teegarden’s passion for politics and fighting injustice was ignited while working with Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign in 2008 and the fans are still being flamed. Prior to founding and managing UniteWomen.org, Karen was President of Karen Teegarden & Associates, a marketing sales company based in Michigan. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a B.A. in music.
About Shannon Fisher: Shannon Fisher is the host of the radio talk show, The Authentic Woman – Perspectives on the Female Experience in America on the Authors on the Air radio network. She is a biographer, profiling one person or group each week on her show, and a prominent women’s rights advocate – having been named one of the “2012 Richmonders of the Year” by Style Weekly for her activism in the Virginia General Assembly. Shannon is a member of the Board of Directors of UniteWomen.org, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization, and she co-founded and directed that organization’s Unite Against Rape program, which made strides in raising public awareness of the issues of rape, human trafficking and violence against women.
Fisher is a graduate of both The College of William and Mary and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at The University of Virginia. She has been writing and working in the fields of public and community relations since the mid-1990s. Her articles and essays have been published in newspapers, magazines, anthologies, news sites and blogs. Shannon has worked with Universal Studios, PBS, The Theatre of Note, The Music Theatre of Southern California, and the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.