Green Festival Speakers

Eleanor Smeal


As cofounder and president of the Feminist Majority and former president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Eleanor Smeal has led efforts for the economic, political, and social equality and empowerment of women worldwide for three decades. She has played a leading role in both national and state campaigns to win womens rights legislation and in a number of landmark state and federal court cases for womens rights.

Smeal has been on the frontlines fighting for womens equality. She has been at the forefront of almost every major womens rights victory from the integration of Little League, newspaper helpwanted ads, and police departments to the passage of landmark legislation, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Equal Credit Act, Civil Rights Restoration Act, Violence Against Women Act, and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. She has pushed to make Social Security and pensions more equitable for women. She has campaigned to close the wage gap and to achieve pay equity. Expanding feminist activism to a global level, Smeal in 1997 launched the international Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan to counter the Talibans abuse of women.

Smeal serves on a number of boards, including the National Council for Research on Women, the National Organization for Women, the Executive Committee of the National Council of Womens Organizations, and the Leadership Circle of the Alliance for Ratification of CEDAW. She is also a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University and holds an M.A. degree from the University of Florida. She received an honorary Doctor of Law from Duke University and an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Florida.