A Reinvigorated Feminist Caucus

This year’s American Humanist Association 71st Annual Conference saw a lot of wonderful things come to fruition, one of them being the tireless efforts of Feminist Caucus Chair Stephanie Downs Hughes and newly appointed Feminist Caucus Co-Chair Zelda Gatuskin to get the AHA Feminist Caucus back to action. Zelda Gatuskin, president of the Humanist Society of New Mexico and editor-in-chief of Amador Publishers LLC, contacted Stephanie Downs Hughes about mobilizing activity for the Feminist Caucus at the annual conference. Stephanie, unable to attend, appointed Zelda co-chair, and members in attendance at the Feminist Caucus Business Meeting unanimously affirmed her leadership.  Zelda had the support of her chapter’s newly formed Feminist Caucus HSNM in preparing the agenda, handouts and displays for the AHA Feminist Caucus’s presence at the conference. Members of her HSNM delegation kept FC events running smoothly. 

The business luncheon saw a turnout of 28 Feminist Caucus members, including 3 AHA board members, to discuss action items such as state level FC organizations, rotating chapter leadership, “Pass the ERA” campaign activity, and mentorship and colleagueship programs. Ideas were also fielded about restarting the Feminist Caucus newsletter, which has been dormant since 2007. 

In addition to hosting the Feminist Caucus Business Meeting, the Feminist Caucus also helped host and support the screening of Miss Representation, a film by Jennifer Seibel Newsom about the way women are treated in modern media, and how these limited portrayals of women are negatively impacting women in leadership. The Feminist Caucus was also active at a table hosting an Equal Rights Amendment petition for AHA members to sign and show support for the renewed efforts to “Pass the ERA.”  More on that at www.united4equality.com.

The energy and enthusiasm members exhibited for the Feminist Caucus shows how needed it is at a time when women’s rights are being questioned daily. AHA awardees Gloria Steinem and Debra Sweet both affirmed the incredible need for organizations like the AHA to have active Feminist Caucus. Expect new and exciting things to come out of the Feminist Caucus in the near future, from education campaigns, to activism, to promoting more FC sponsored events at future AHA gatherings. 

If you are interested in joining the Feminist Caucus, volunteering for Feminist Caucus activities, or to help mobilize your chapters to form Feminist Caucus’s, visit the Feminist Caucus website, or contact Stephanie and Zelda with your ideas at femcaucus@americanhumanist.org. To volunteer for our “Pass the ERA Campaign,” either for organizing and leadership roles in your area or for a guide to action items you can do on your own, you may write to FeministCaucusChair@humanistsocietyofnm.org.