Night Of Comedy In NYC Supports Women's Rights

The ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women's Equality are teaming up with actress and activist Jane Fonda for a night of comedy supporting women’s rights and equality. The February 7 comedy show will feature comedians including 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander, Saturday Night Live’s Sasheer Zamata, and The Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac, as well as Michelle Buteau (of Key & Peele and The Eric Andre Show) and Gina Brillon (of White Guy Talk Show). Feminist legend Gloria Steinem will also be there, along with writer, filmmaker and activist Agunda Okeyo, who is producing the event.

In a statement, Fonda explained why she’s hosting the event, saying,

Growing up in the business, I have always felt it is important to use my voice and stand with my colleagues and friends to support women's rights and equality. We hope to use the magic of comedy to help raise awareness of pay inequity, pregnancy discrimination and violence against women and to help promote constitutional equality for women.

Fonda is on the advisory board of the ERA Coalition, an organization working to promote equal rights for women by passing the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA, a constitutional amendment that would ban discrimination based on sex, was first introduced in 1923. In 1972, both houses of Congress passed the ERA, but the measure ultimately failed in 1982 when the amendment fell three states short of the 38 state ratifications required to make it part of the Constitution. The ERA Coalition hopes to bring the amendment back.

Jessica Neuwirth, president and director of both the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality, said, “[Eighty] percent of Americans think women already have equal rights under the law — 95 percent of all Americans think we should, but the fact is that we don’t. The Equal Rights Amendment would put women in the Constitution once and for all.”

The ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women's Equality have created a video in support of the comedy show, featuring female activists including Gloria Steinem, Jamie Wilson, Ai-Jen Poo, Jennifer Pozner, and others. Ai-Jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, explains why the ERA is important, saying, “It’s about valuing all work equally, as much as it is about valuing all of the people equally, who do the work.”

Agunda Okeyo, who is producing the comedy show in February, asks, "How is that story that we have of the American dream maybe not living up to what it means to be a fully inclusive nation? Should there be a new perspective on how the American dream is discussed?" Elizabeth Deutsch, a J.D. candidate in the Yale Law School, suggests that the ERA and women’s rights have their own role to play in the American dream, remarking, “I think feminism is the most American thing you could have…. One aspect of the American dream is being the possibility to change or the possibility to hope. Feminism really is that.”

“A Night of Comedy with Jane Fonda” will take place February 7 at Caroline’s on Broadway in New York. You can find tickets for the event here.

Image courtesy of The Fund for Women’s Equality and The ERA Coalition