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Amy Richards

Third Wave Foundation, Manifesta 

After graduating cum laude from Barnard College in 1992 with a degree in Art History, Amy Richards embarked on an unexpected career as a feminist activist, writer, and organizer. What began as a summer project, Freedom Summer ’92, a cross-country voter registration drive, eventually led Amy to co-found the Third Wave Foundation, a national organization for young feminist activists between the ages of 15 and 30. Amy’s leadership and visionary work launched her as a primary spokesperson and leading voice for contemporary feminist issues.

In addition to running Soapbox, Inc: Speakers Who Speak Out, the foremost feminist lecture agency and creators of Feminist Camp, Amy lectures at dozens of venues each year and contributes, though her writings and media appearances, to the current public conversations on feminism. She also consults to many organizations and initiatives, including being a consulting producer on the HBO documentary Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words and an advisor to PBS documentary on the women’s movement in America, MAKERS: Women Making America. Amy is also overseeing educational outreach for MAKERS and at work on a book to compliment the MAKER’s film and digital platform. Amy also works closely with Gloria Steinem on her writings.

Amy is most popularly known as the author of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (co-authored with Jennifer Baumgardner and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2000 with an anniversary and updated edition published in 2010) and as the voice behind Ask Amy, the online advice column she has run at since 1995. Amy is also the author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, about feminism and motherhood, and the co-author of Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism. She is also the editor of I Still Believe Anita Hill, a collection of essays featuring Eve Ensler, Catharine MacKinnon, Lynn Nottage and others. Amy’s writings have appeared in The NationThe LA TimesBustMs. and numerous anthologies, including Listen UpBody Outlaws and Catching A Wave—where she has tackled issues ranging from plastic surgery to abortion politics. Amy was also the author of Insight Guides: Shopping in New York City.

Amy has appeared in a range of media venues including Charlie Rose, Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor, Oprah, Talk of the Nation, New York One and CNN. Amy was first publicly distinguished as a leader in 1995 when Who Cares magazine chose her as one of twenty-five Young Visionaries. She has gone on to win accolades from Ms. magazine, which profiled her in “21 for the 21st: Leaders for the Next Century,” Women’s Enews, which in 2003 named her one of their “Leaders for the 21st Century,” the American Association of University Women, which chose her as a 2004 Woman of Distinction, and her alma mater, Barnard College, which honored her for her achievements in 2007.

For more than a decade, Amy led Third Wave as it grew from a small grassroots organization into a national institution. During her tenure Amy created and sustained the organization’s signature program areas and initiated public education projects such as “I Spy Sexism,” encouraging people to take action on the injustices that they witness every day, and “Why Vote?” Amy was also the interim project director for Twilight: Los Angeles, a film by Anna Deavere Smith, where she oversaw a national educational program that addressed race in America. She has also worked with Scenarios USA helping with the distribution of their teen educational videos, and with the Columbia School of Public Health on a project addressing the long-term negative health consequences of welfare reform. She served as a cultural attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Russia where she consulted on women’s issues in that country. She is also very involved with the organizations on whose boards and advisory committees she serves, including the Sadie Nash Leadership Program, Chicken & Egg Productions,, Ms. Magazine, and Fair Fund. In the summer of 2009 Amy was in residence at the writer’s retreat Hedgebrook. She is also a four-time marathon runner, a former NCAA Division I soccer player, an avid traveler, and a mother of two sons.

Click here to watch a video of Amy Richards talking about MAKERS:

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Amy Richards
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