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Equal Rights Advocates

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

Equal Rights Advocates
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Equal Rights Advocates

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

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.

By the numbers

The impact


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


Won in settlements and verdicts for women and girls challenging discrimination .

Did you know?

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

Equal Rights Advocates


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


5 days ago - @equalrightsadv

“Raising boys to be vulnerable and authentic demands adults who model those qualities. It also requires adults to articulate the actions they take to love themselves in a world that says you’re not enough.” We ❤️ Former NFL player @wade_davis28, who teaches boys and young men to love themselves and be confident enough to ask for consent. THIS is how we end “boys will be boys.” #MCM

1 week ago - @equalrightsadv

Don't miss this! ✨Our 45th Anniversary Gala Luncheon✨ is happening June 14 in #SanFrancisco with featured speaker @valeriebjarrett ! Be sure to reserve your spot - link in our bio 💪🏿💪🏾💪🏼

1 week ago - @equalrightsadv

The #strongerca 2019 legislative agenda is 🔥🔥🔥, y’all! Full of innovative reforms that tackle pay discrimination, sexual harassment, lack of affordable child care, and more. 💪🏾💪🏼💪🏿💪🏽 We're proud to lead the awesome 50+ organizations in the Stronger California Advocates Network who work in collaboration with the CA Women's Caucus to address these intersecting issues that deeply impact the lives of working women and families. Check out the 2019 agenda at the link in our bio!

2 weeks ago - @equalrightsadv

It’s time for our #BookoftheMonth! This month’s feminist pick is Down Girl by Kate Manne. According to Manne, misogyny is not just hatred or hostility towards women, it’s also about controlling, punishing, and dominating. Gender and power dynamics— it’s all here! Have you read it? Let us know what you think in the comments. #BOTM #MayPick

2 weeks ago - @equalrightsadv

Without federal guidance, colleges are struggling more than ever to address sexual assault WITHOUT retraumatizing survivors or further disrupting their education. And the students who are already at greatest risk of being sexually assaulted are disproportionately harmed by these inadequate policies: trans, nonbinary, and GNC students; Black and Latinx women; and gay and bisexual Black men. Support CA #SB493 to ensure California colleges have common-sense, fair, transparent procedures to address sexual assault & harassment! Email your CA legislators with one click 📲 Link in our bio

3 weeks ago - @equalrightsadv

Happy early Mother’s Day! Now let’s work on getting moms #equalpay!

3 weeks ago - @equalrightsadv

Guess who is speaking at our annual Gala Luncheon June 14 in San Francisco! Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, Chair of the White House Council on Women & Girls, and author of the new book #findingmyvoice @valeriebjarrett Reserve your spot! Link in bio ✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼

3 weeks ago - @equalrightsadv

Happy #DenimDay from Team ERA! We stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors today and every day. We support and believe you. Always.

4 weeks ago - @equalrightsadv

How do you own your space as a woman or nonbinary person? How do you stand in your power? Tell us on May 4 in Oakland. Stop by and hang out with ERA and other local feminists at this unique event, where we'll share lived experiences and tell each other how we deliberately take up space. A film crew will be there to capture our insights in an informal story-sharing circle, and in short one-on-one interviews with a friend, new or old. (All filming is optional -- you can also share your story in other ways.) Space is limited, so register soon! More info and registration link in our bio.

1 month ago - @equalrightsadv

THIS is what campus rape culture looks like. Spotted at the liquor store on Fordham Rd. near Fordham University. Boycott, but more importantly: Educate the young men in your life about sexual coercion. It is NEVER ok to have sex with someone who’s too drunk to clearly consent @fordhamuniversity #saam #sexualassaultawarenessmonth


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.