Sarasota News Leader

11/16/2012

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FIGHTING THEN AND FIGHTING NOW Sonia Pressman Fuentes is the author of the memoir, "Eat First —You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter," along with many essays and articles about women's rights issues and other topics featured in publications through- out the world. Photos by Tyler Whitson and Arielle Scherr WOMEN'S RIGHTS PIONEERS STRIVE TO INFLUENCE AND INSPIRE A NEW GENERATION By Tyler Whitson Contributing Writer When Sarasota resident Sonia Pressman Fuen- tes awoke on Nov. 7, she was ecstatic at the news from the night before. The renowned women's rights activist, author, lawyer and accomplished feminist pioneer who helped found the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966 — and the first female attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the Equal Employment Opportu- nity Commission — found the 2012 election had proven to be an historic one for women and women's equality activists. The 113th Congress will include an unprece- dented number of women, breaking records for both the Senate and the House of Repre- sentatives. The Senate will boast 20 female members, while the House will welcome at least 81. Additionally, New Hampshire will be the first state ever with an all-female congressional delegation and governor. Women's issues such as equal pay, reproduc- tive rights, preventative healthcare and med- ical privacy rights had been brought to the forefront of the political debate. By defeating numerous candidates with extreme views on abortion and rape, such as U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and Indiana State Treasurer Rich-

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