Brenda Feigen

Former Population Media Center board member Brenda Feigen is a feminist activist, lawyer, author and producer. She is an experienced women’s rights, civil rights, employment and entertainment law attorney. She has worked on sex discrimination cases that involved violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, including harassment and wrongful termination on both the federal and state levels, as well as landmark constitutional cases. She sat at the counsel table as then Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued the landmark case, Frontiero v. Richardson, in which it was established that discrimination on the basis of gender would receive more than the cursory review it had previously garnered. Brenda continues with litigation today, as she is joined by co-counsel from the ACLU and several private law firms in a class action brought on behalf of pregnant and lactating dockworkers against the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU.

After co-founding the Women’s Action Alliance and its “newsletter” Ms. Magazine, with Gloria Steinem, she accepted the position of Director (with then Professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg) of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, becoming one of its two co-founders. After Roe v. Wade was decided, Brenda expanded the scope of the Women’s Rights Project to include the Reproductive Freedom Rights Project. She took on multiple cases involving the involuntary sterilization of poor young women in the South.

In the entertainment field, Brenda has handled matters involving the motion picture, television, literary and other intellectual property areas. Her practice has also been enhanced by her own experience as an agent at the William Morris Agency and then as the producer of a big-budget Hollywood movie, NAVY SEALS (Orion, 1990). Her book, NOT ONE OF THE BOYS: LIVING LIFE AS A FEMINIST, was published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 2000 and then in 2022 with a new chapter, “The Wheel of Feminism.” The book is available in both digital and audible formats.

In 2018, Brenda appeared in the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning documentary RBG. In early 2020, she was depicted in the widely acclaimed Mrs. America limited series (Available on Hulu), with actor Ari Graynor portraying Brenda.

In 2021, Brenda wrote tributes to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Harvard and Columbia Law Reviews. In both, Brenda says how much working with Ruth influenced her entire legal career. Brenda has served as a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the National Employment Lawyers Association.

In 2022, Brenda Feigen was the recipient of one of Vassar College’s most distinguished awards: The Spirit of Vassar. Selected from a pool of over 40,000 graduates, it is given only to one alumna/us each year. In late 2023, Brenda was honored to participate in a Cambridge University debate on the American Constitution. While there, she also addressed a large group of students, members of the Cambridge Union for Reproductive Rights. Her trip to England was followed by an interview for a podcast with The Economist that will be available in mid-2024.

Brenda received her Vassar degree with honors in Mathematics and a double minor in Economics and Russian. Her first year at Harvard Law School, where women constituted 6% of the class (up from 3% in RBG’s years there ten years earlier), raised her consciousness so high that she emerged from the Law School, graduating in 1969, a radical feminist.