This weekend, the National Organization for Women (NOW) will honor Catharine A. MacKinnon, a longtime visiting professor at Harvard Law School, with their “Woman of Vision Award” at its annual conference.
MacKinnon, a noted author and groundbreaking feminist thinker, was nominated for a lifetime of original work on sexual abuse and sex inequality in areas such as sexual harassment, rape, pornography and prostitution. For decades, her work has served as the foundation for influential laws, regulations and social movements around the world: Among many other accomplishments, she conceived sexual abuse as a violation of equality rights, pioneering the legal claim for sexual harassment as sex discrimination in employment and education; with Andrea Dworkin, she recognized the harms of pornography as civil rights violations and proposed the Swedish Model to abolish prostitution; and, representing Bosnian women survivors of Serbian sexual atrocities, she established legal recognition of rape in genocide, winning with co-counsel a $745 million verdict at trial. Her approach to equality has been largely accepted in Canada and elsewhere.
In addition to her work as a lawyer and activist, MacKinnon is a prolific author, whose books include include “Sexual Harassment of Working Women” (1979), “Feminism Unmodified” (1987), “Toward a Feminist Theory of the State” (1989), “Only Words” (1993), “Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws” (2005), “Are Women Human?” (2006), her casebook “Sex Equality” (2016), and, most recently, “Butterfly Politics” (2017).
At the conference, MacKinnon will be recognized during a session on Equality alongside Alice Cohan, longtime feminist activist and current political director for the Feminist Majority Foundation, who is nationally recognized for her expertise in field organizing, mass mobilizations, and working with law enforcement. Cohan will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Several other women will be honored during the conference, including: Farah Tanis, who will be presented with the Woman of Action Award; Dr. Alice Mann, recognized as the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Award for Women’s Health Honoree; Erin Murphy, who will receive the Woman of Courage Award ; and Lizz Winstead, who will be presented with the Woman of Impact Award.
As the grassroots arm of the women’s movement, the National Organization for Women is dedicated to its multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women’s rights, and is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members and activists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since its founding in 1966, NOW’s purpose has been to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.