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Method to the Madness: Our March Madness Final Four Contenders

Posted by Katie Hegarty, Online Outreach Assistant | Posted on: March 24, 2015 at 11:18 am

In honor of March Madness, NWLC has been locked in a battle of televisual proportions, looking for your favorite female TV character of the last 50 years. Hundreds of voters have narrowed the field from the original Sweet Sixteen bracket to the current Final Four. And now, with the added wild card of the write-in category, deciding how to vote is tougher than ever.

Our staff have got their heads squarely in the game, and have made serious cases for their sheroes. Below are their arguments in favor of each of their favorite characters. Can Brandie convince you to champion Olivia Benson? Is Erin’s write-in campaign for Dana Scully supernatural enough?

Check out their posts here, then vote your heart out!  

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Murphy Brown: Stepping Out of Our TV Sets and Into Reality

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: March 24, 2015 at 11:14 am

While all four of the finalists in the Women’s History Month March Madness Bracket are deserving of the win, Murphy Brown did something that none of the others have ever done… for several months in 1992 she stepped out of our TV sets and into reality. And for that reason, she may be the most important woman fictional character ever on TV.

For those of you who don’t remember, when Murphy Brown debuted in 1988, the eponymous main character of the show (played by Candice Bergen) was someone we’d never seen before on our TV sets. A successful television news anchor, in some ways she was just the next evolution in the line of characters started by Diahann Carroll and Mary Tyler Moore — women who weren’t defined by their relationships with a man but by their careers. But where Julia was a maternal nurse working for a kind male doctor, and Mary was a spunky TV producer working for a gruff male news chief, Murphy was neither maternal nor spunky and she didn’t work for anyone. She was the boss — in reality if not in name.

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Why You Should Pick Agent Scully for Best Female Character on TV This March Madness

Posted by Erin Longbottom, Online Outreach Associate | Posted on: March 24, 2015 at 10:24 am

Was it an oversight or government conspiracy that federal agent Dana Scully of The X-Files was left off of NWLC’s March Madness bracket? The truth is out there folks — Agent Scully deserves a fair shot at this title. Let me break it down for you:

From the beginning of the show, Scully is presented to us as a remarkable woman. The FBI (at least in the X-Files universe) is heavily male-dominated, but Scully takes it in stride. She’s never afraid to advocate for herself or her partner when it comes to defending their all-important work of revealing the government’s cover-up of UFOs.

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C.J. For President

Posted by Mia Jacobs, Program Assistant | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 05:51 pm

In May 2006, The West Wing series finale aired to an audience of 8.1 million viewers. In the seven years of the show, characters tackled and engaged the viewers in challenges spanning the scope of American domestic and foreign policy: terrorism, gay rights, oil dependency, the war on drugs and countless global conflicts. But The West Wing also brought its audience into conversation on more personal issues, pushing us to question the definition of family, professionalism and responsibility. One of the most enduring and relevant (though often overlooked) issues The West Wing brings up is the place of women in the workplace.

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YOLO: You Obviously Love Olivia

Posted by Brandie Temple, Well Woman's Benefit Hotline Coordinator | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 05:30 pm

The crime procedural Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (known simply as “SVU” to many) premiered in September of 1999 as a spin-off of regular Law and Order. The opening monologue has since been etched into our collective conscience, thanks in part to seemingly endless reruns and frequent marathons on cable networks (not that I’m complaining). SVU is the longest running TV drama in the U.S. and one of the few mainstream shows that deal strictly and poignantly with crimes like sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, which disproportionately affect women and girls.

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Nyota Uhura and Her Never-Ending Mission to Promote Equity

Posted by Alicia Gurrieri, Program Assistant | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 04:43 pm

In 1966, race riots and voting rights marches pervaded the United States. Not helping the struggle for black liberation were film and television roles that rendered black characters with offensive stereotypes which perpetuated (and still perpetuate) racial inequity.  As one of the first black actors with a substantial role, Star Trek’s Nyota Uhura (portrayed by Nichelle Nichols) paved the way for many black actors and explorers to come.

Star Trek offered a revolutionary vision in which problem-solving  was motivated by inclusion, optimism, and diversity. Uhura, whose name stems from the Swahili word for freedom, promoted racial and gender equity during times of intense social maelstrom. As communications director, Uhura dedicated her work to understand differences among languages to facilitate peaceful negotiations.

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Knope We Can: A March Madness Write-In Campaign

Posted by Amanda Hooper, Outreach Manager | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 04:00 pm

NWLC’s March Madness bracket is jam-packed with powerful women from TV shows spanning past decades, but for me there was one glaring omission: Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope.

Expertly played by real life goddess (and my imaginary best friend) Amy Poehler, Leslie Knope became America’s favorite waffle-loving public servant and spoke to a generation of young women with dreams of careers in government and politics.  Leslie is ambitious, strong, and a powerhouse but is also flawed, vulnerable at times, and human. She’s a multi-dimensional character who grows and evolves over the show’s seven seasons.

It was sad to bid Leslie farewell as Parks And Rec came to a close this February, but her influence as a TV feminist icon continues.  Here’s why she deserves to win the NWLC March Madness bracket:

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5 Reasons Not to Let Obamacare Opponents Turn Back the Clock

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: March 23, 2015 at 01:24 pm

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reached a major milestone. It’s been five years since President Obama signed the landmark law to end discriminatory insurance practices and provide more options for women to get affordable health coverage. Despite over 50 votes to repeal, defund or dismantle the ACA—and several election cycles—the ACA survived its first 5 years, mostly intact. During those years, we’ve made remarkable gains.

Here’s a quick recap of five great things the Affordable Care Act does for women:

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