Soraya Chemaly is a feminist writer, critic and activist whose work focuses on women’s rights and the role of gender in politics, religion and popular culture. She is a regular contributor to TIME, Salon, The Huffington Post, RHRealityCheck, Role Reboot, Alternet, and other media. Her writing also appears in The Nation, The Guardian and CNN. She is a frequent radio and online commentator with Al-Jazeera, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, and Voice of Russia. She speaks frequently on topics related to gender and free speech, sexualized violence and media portrayals of women. Chemaly was one of the primary organizers of a social media campaign to force Facebook to remove sexist and misogynistic content from its site in accordance to its guidelines on bullying, harassment and safety. The #FBrape campaign, widely covered in media, was positively noted in a New York Times editorial, and described as “an historic turning point in the fight against gender based hate speech.” In her position as Director of The Women’s Media Center Speech Project, she continues to advocate for curbing online abuse and expanding women’s freedom of expression.
Ms. Chemaly returned to feminist activism and writing after a professional career in strategic planning in the data and technology fields. Between 2000 and 2008, Ms. Chemaly was president of a marketing consultancy. Prior to establishing her own practice, Ms. Chemaly was the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Dutch publishing company VNU’s pioneering marketing information company, Claritas, Inc., (now part of Nielsen, Inc.) Ms. Chemaly joined Claritas after several years as an executive with the Gannett Company, prior to which she was a writer and editor at various publications and a founding principle in an urban monthly magazine in Washington, DC. Ms. Chemaly graduated from Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences, where she founded that school’s feminist journal, The New Press, and attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, MA for post-graduate studies. She was the recipient of the 2013 Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy.Inquire About Speaker