San Francisco

Equal Rights Advocates

ERA is fighting for laws that prohibit sex-based discrimination.

Equal Rights Advocates
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From the Executive Director

Too many women and girls still have their educational and employment opportunities disrupted by discrimination, harassment and assault, unfair school discipline, or incarceration.

Far too many women and girls—particularly women and girls of color and low-income women and girls—face a combination of structural and cultural barriers to equality, severely impacting their lives as well as their felt sense of justice and possibility.

The vast underrepresentation of women across all sectors in political and corporate leadership and in public life prevents women’s perspectives from being heard and informing policy.

Noreen Farrell

By The Numbers

The impact


Oakland students benefited from our school reform campaign to improve outcomes for young women of color

$5 million

Won in settlements and verdicts for women and girls challenging discrimination

Equal Rights Advocates

What we do

Program 1

Strong Girls Initiative


Too many girls receive early messages that they shouldn’t pursue science or sports, or that they shouldn’t report sexual violence. One in five women will be victim of an assault or attempted assault while in college. Girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys.

Our Strong Girls Initiative seeks to enforce existing laws and advocate for new policies that ensure all students can go to school safe from the threat of sexual harassment and unburdened by gender stereotypes.

Program 2

Access to Justice Initiative


An existing gap in the enforcement of the law leaves working women and their children behind. Poverty, lack of job mobility, and fear of employer retaliation keep far too many workers silent in the face of unfair treatment. Studies confirm that women, people of color, and low-wage workers are much less likely to have access to legal representation.

Our initiatives include advice and counseling through a unique national hotline for women workers and their families, "Know Your Rights" toolkits for workers and advocates helping them understand the law, and a range of fellowship, clerkship, and internship programs to prepare the next generation of women’s rights advocates.

Program 3

Women at Work Initiative


Working women disproportionately encounter barriers to fair employment, from sexual harassment to the glass ceiling to wage disparities. They remain concentrated in low-wage jobs and make up 2/3 of the minimum wage workforce. The gender wage gap – women making on average 78 cents to a man’s dollar – has not budged in ten years, impacting women in nearly every industry.

Our Women at Work Initiative seeks to remove systemic barriers to women’s economic security, including sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and unequal pay. Projects include Stronger California, California’s first women’s economic agenda and Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues, lifting up women in male-dominated industries like the trades, through enforcement, education and community-building.


Did you know?

The gender pay gap costs women $500 billion a year.

Equal Rights Advocates

Key Facts and Figures


Annual Budget
Year ended March 2017
Program Spend
Fundraising Spend
Management Spend
Executive Director
Noreen Farrell
San Francisco, CA
# Employees
# Volunteers


Latest posts by Equal Rights Advocates

@equalrightsadv OUR movement. Always has been. #womenshistorymonth

19 hours ago

@equalrightsadv We’re here at @usfca’s annual Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Symposium in downtown San Francisco, meeting some awesome ladies & recruiting them to team ERA. Get involved! Our weekly Action Alerts keep you up to speed on the latest gender justice news & give you quick, easy opportunities to fight back ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽 Link in bio!

1 day ago

@equalrightsadv “My colleagues at @equalrightsadv span every generation of the movement, and they are among the most talented and visionary women I know fighting for the most underserved communities.” ✨ Women in the legal field are making history NOW. Know someone we should highlight for #womenshistorymonth? Tell us about her & we may feature her story for WHM. Link in bio.

1 week ago

@equalrightsadv Summoning the strength of our foremothers for another week of patriarchy smashing 🙏🏿🙏🏽🙏🏾#womenshistorymonth

1 week ago

@equalrightsadv Happy #InternationalWomensDay to all the fierce warriors out there!

1 week ago

@equalrightsadv Our Communications team is at @twitter today learning new tools to better reach student survivors of campus sexual assault where they are at @wakeintl’s #tech2empower conference. Thanks @cherylcontee, @kanter & Kanika Raney for imparting knowledge!

2 weeks ago

@equalrightsadv Research labs & academic sciences have a MAJOR problem with sexual harassment and gender discrimination. But we’re partnering with the Network for Women In Science at @scrippsresearch (the world's most influential research institution) to change that. Read about our innovative project to shift lab power dynamics and expose toxic behavior in the sciences at 👩🏾‍🔬🧬🔬🧫

3 weeks ago

@equalrightsadv The first American woman athlete to wear a hijab while competing for Team USA in the Olympics, @ibtihajmuhammad is now on a mission to inspire young Muslim girls & girls of color with her children’s book “The Proudest Blue” & a hijab-wearing, Olympic fencing Barbie 😍😍 #theproudestblue #representationmatters #BlackHistoryIsNow

3 weeks ago

@equalrightsadv Today’s #BlackHistoryIsNow modern-day history maker is also our #MondayMotivation: @charlenecarruthers is a badass and inspirational creator, mobilizer, and movement builder. Her book "UNAPOLOGETIC: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements" is a contemporary instruction guide for social change. Haven’t read it yet? You should.

3 weeks ago

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Governing, November 28 2018

As Protections for Pregnant Workers Falter in Congress, States Step Up

Forty years ago, Congress amended civil rights law to cover pregnant women, giving them federal protection against being fired, reassigned, docked pay or denied benefits based on their condition. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 required employers to allow women who are pregnant the same leaves of absence they’d give an employee on leave for sickness or disability.

It was a landmark piece of legislation. But it hasn’t stood up very well in an era when many more women are in the workplace. For one thing, it doesn’t apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees. It’s also full of loopholes. Employers don’t have to accommodate a pregnant woman’s need to work sitting down, to use the bathroom more frequently or to have a private area to pump milk after the baby’s born. “Even though pregnancy discrimination has been illegal for a generation, it’s still pretty rampant,” says Sarah Fleisch Fink, director of workplace policy at the National Partnership for Women and Families. “It exists across industries, race and ethnicity, although it disproportionately impacts women of color. Women are still fired for being pregnant.”

In some instances, the issue has brought together ideological opposites. “We’ve been seeing some really interesting alliances between pro-life groups and feminist and workers’ rights groups,” says Jennifer Reisch, legal director of Equal Rights Advocates, a California-based legal group.

In the Fund


A gap remains at all levels of a women's career journey, from entering high-earning fields like technology, to equal pay and earning promotions. Women still earn 78 cents to a man's dollar.