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Method to the Madness: Our March Madness Final Four Contenders

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

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. Read more »

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

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. Read more »

C.J. For President

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. Read more »

YOLO: You Obviously Love Olivia

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. Read more »

Nyota Uhura and Her Never-Ending Mission to Promote Equity

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. Read more »

Knope We Can: A March Madness Write-In Campaign

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: Read more »

Join Us on October 31 for a Tweetchat on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act!

Join the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Coalition on October 31 from 2:00 – 3:00pm ET for a tweetchat to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act!

We’ll discuss how far we’ve come, and what we still need to do to end pregnancy discrimination--including passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

WHAT: Pregnancy Discrimination Act & Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Tweetchat

WHEN: October 31, 2013 from 2:00 – 3:00pm ET


FEATURING: Senator Robert P. Casey, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Representative Rosa DeLauro, and Representative Donna Edwards

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On Twitter? Come #TalkPay with NWLC and Special Guests!

Equal Pay Day is fast approaching, and this year NWLC is excited to gather people in a virtual space to talk about equal pay issues. If you’re on Twitter, we hope you’ll join us!

On Tuesday, April 9, 2013 NWLC will be hosting a tweetchat from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET to talk about equal pay and the wage gap. Our official chat hashtag is #TalkPay. Read more »

Help #StopTheBans in North Dakota by Joining our Twitter Campaign

They're Wrong

When you try to ban abortion in one state — you are hurting women in every state: join our Twitter campaign and stand with the women in North Dakota.
Take Action

Last Friday, North Dakota's legislature passed a bill that bans almost all abortions in the state. This outrage comes on the heels of Arkansas politicians passing an extreme abortion ban in their state. These politicians don't think that people across the country will notice or care if they eliminate the rights of women in their state.

They're wrong. When you try to ban abortion in one state — you are hurting women in every state.

The abortion ban isn't the only harmful piece of legislation aimed at North Dakota women and families. In the next week, North Dakota politicians will work to push through a sweeping package of bills that also aim to close down women's health centers and could prevent couples from using in-vitro fertilization to build a family. In the face of such an assault, organizations across the country are joining together to remind North Dakota's women (and the politicians that are supposed to represent them) that we are watching.

Will you take two minutes to join our Twitter campaign and show your support for the women of North Dakota? It's simple:

  • First, make sure you're signed in to your Twitter account(s)
  • Visit our Thunderclap page at and click "Support with Twitter"
  • A pop-up will appear — click on the orange "Add my Support" button
  • Another new pop-up will appear. Click the blue "Sign In" button on the left side of the pop-up
  • Once you click the blue button the pop-up will close and you'll be set

On Tuesday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. ET, everyone who joins the campaign will send the same tweet at the same time to send one loud and resounding message to the state's politicians: RT 2stand w/ #NorthDakota women. Tell Gov Dalrymple 2veto and shut down abortion bans. #NDleg #stopthebans Read more »