Eleanor Smeal

Famed as: An American feminist activist, political analyst, lobbyist, and grassroots organizer. Smeal is also the president and founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation and has served as president of the National Organization for Women twice.

About: Recognized throughout the nation as a women’s rights leader, Eleanor Smeal appears frequently on television and radio, testifies before Congress on a wide variety of women’s issues, and speaks to diverse audiences nationwide on a broad range of feminist topics. For over two decades, she has played a leading role in both national and state campaigns to win women’s rights legislation and in a number of landmark Eleanor Smealstate and federal court cases for women’s rights. One of the architects of the modern drive for women’s equality, Smeal is known as a political analyst, strategist, and grassroots organizer. She has played a pivotal role in defining the debate, developing the strategies, and charting the direction of the modern day women’s movement. Smeal was the first to identify the “gender gap” — the difference in the way women and men vote — and popularized its usage in election and polling analyses to enhance women’s voting clout. Smeal is the author of How and Why Women Will Elect the Next President (Harper and Row, 1984), which predicted that women’s votes would be decisive in presidential politics.

Quote: “Just think – guns have a constitutional amendment protecting them and women don’t.”

Contributor: Johanna Hartman


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