Fighting for Gender Justice

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024
Equal Rights Advocates Community Power Rally celebrating groundbreaking policy wins.

Wealth, in the traditional sense, is often only thought of as money. But what if it transcended that simple definition?

To achieve true gender parity, new conversations with leaders within the women’s economic empowerment world should go beyond the need for women to simply access money and find decent jobs. They must build a bridge between women and their money that also discusses the need for women to access quality healthcare, seek happiness, and build power in their communities. What if an organization existed that led legal action with such a holistic vision?

Turns out that such an organization does exist. At Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national nonprofit legal organization that focuses on advancing gender equality and combating discrimination in the workplace, education, and life overall, the work is expansive. Concentrating on low-income individuals and communities of color, ERA uses movement building, community education, impact litigation, and policy advocacy to challenge gender-based discrimination, promote fair treatment, and ensure equal rights under the law.

“Women must be able to talk about their lives holistically and ERA has an agenda for change that addresses their needs comprehensively. When we do that, communities are activated in a way that they have never seen before. They feel seen in their own power,” says Noreen Farrell, executive director.

While ERA is a legal organization, community power building is critical to its success in passing new laws and enforcing them. Working with hundreds of partners, ERA has been the force behind 50 new economic security laws in California in the past decade, and hundreds more across the nation. 

Women Deserve an Equitable Career

“Women are the backbone of our economy and democracy. We build power to ensure they have a voice and access to quality jobs with pay reflecting their value. When we work for laws and change ensuring high wages and equitable careers, so many other things fall into place for women’s equality and autonomy,” says Farrell. 

Founded in 1974, ERA has led hundreds of groundbreaking impact cases opening entire industries to women and people of color. ERA’s landmark case challenging sex and race discrimination against the San Francisco Fire Department resulted in a 1987 consent decree transforming the industry. Among its 50 wins in the past decade, ERA led passage of the California Fair Pay Act of 2015 and other laws advancing wage justice for 18 million workers. ERA incubates locally and replicates nationally through its networks and national digital hub.

Catalyzing Philanthropy

Farrell calls on philanthropy to innovate at this moment: “Congress has invested $4 trillion dollars into the creation of higher-wage jobs in infrastructure industries like manufacturing, construction, and green energy. To leverage this moment, Equal Rights Advocates is developing our Women Rebuilding America Initiative to ensure that women of color and others who have historically been underrepresented benefit from these higher-wage and equitable jobs. Now is a once-in-a-generation moment to change the future of work for millions across the nation.”


Equal Rights Advocates

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Sr. Development Manager: Jacqui Logan


Equal Rights Advocates is a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls.

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