Women’s eNews reports on the Freedom on Our Terms conference (PDF) held at Hunter College in New York this past weekend. The event marked the 30th anniversary of the National Women’s Conference in Houston (view photos of the original conference here).

"Held at a high point of the women’s movement in the United States, Houston ’77 marked the only time the federal government ever sponsored a gathering of women for equality," writes Frances C. Whittelsey. "With $5 million in funding from Congress organizers drew more than 20,000, including three first ladies — Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford and Lady Bird Johnson."

This time around, there were few politicians and scant media coverage. Liz Abzug, an attorney and daughter of the late Bella Abzug, a New York congresswoman who presided over the 1977 conference, called for "a re-energizing, a re-igniting between younger women, older women and women in between."

The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute in Manhattan and Girls Speak Out sponsored the event.

Participants agreed to develop a 10-point "feminist action plan" for presidential candidates. Among the issues under consideration: "elimination of abstinence-only sex education; paid leave for family care; improved child care; ratification of the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; national single-payer health care; reform of the Federal Communications Commission to reverse media consolidation; changes in the tax code to put a value on labor spent for homemaking; and renewal of the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, reintroduced into Congress this year."

Whittelsey writes that "Elizabeth Holtzman, a delegate to the Houston conference, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and a former Brooklyn district attorney, confessed that she had not realized how much time would be needed to effect change."

"’We thought it was going to be an easy struggle," Holtzman recalled. "We were wrong."

Sisters Helen LaKelly Hunt and Swanee Hunt have launched Women Moving Millions, which hopes to drive funding to women’s issues.

"This initiative is about empowering high net worth women to become change agents in their communities through women’s funds," writes LaKelly Hunt at Huffington Post. "Women Moving
Millions has the heart of a woman with the mind of a big business."

Voice of America coverered the launch this week.

"An initiative like this that is focused on investing in women and the families that they lead really gives a very different, sends a very different message internationally, sends a message that talks about the
willingness of Americans to truly put their own resources behind one of the most critical issues facing the world today, and that is gender inequality," said Kavita Ramdas, president and CEO of The Global Fund for Women, a non-profit foundation that’s part of the Women’s Funding Network.

The Fonda Factor: Exercise DVDs are as popular as ever, and more often women over 35 prefer to learn from trainers in their 40s and older, like Kathy Smith, who is now 55, and Denise Austin, 50, reports The New York Times. "If you’re down in your basement every morning following someone," said Denise Brodey, the editor in chief of Fitness magazine, "you like the idea that they look like you." (Albeit with firmer abs.)

Just for Fun: With Thanksgiving around the corner, the Washington Post interviews innkeepers about hosting a successful dinner party. (WashingtonPost.com has also put together a useful holiday guide).

Christine

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