Debra Ness to Step Down as President of the National Partnership for Women & Families After 17 Years Leading the Organization

The National Partnership for Women & Families today announced that its long-time president, Debra Ness, has informed the board that she will leave the organization at the end of the year.

Under Debra’s leadership, the National Partnership has grown as a powerful organization advancing bold and innovative solutions to the health and economic challenges that women face.

“It has been the honor of my life to lead the National Partnership for Women & Families for the past 17 years,” said Debra Ness. “I am proud of all that we have accomplished together to advance health and economic policies that shape and improve women’s ability to live dignified, healthy, safe, and economically secure lives. I know the organization is well-positioned for the future, and with our extraordinarily talented and passionate staff and board, will continue to fight for health and economic policies that enable all women to thrive.”

“Debra’s passion and drive have made her a phenomenal and impactful leader for the National Partnership for Women & Families these last 17 years,” said Sharis Pozen, Chair of the Board of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “Debra’s unique understanding of the intersecting health and economic factors that contribute to a woman’s prosperity has had an enormous impact for women across the country. It has been a privilege to watch as Debra skillfully advocated, led, and collaborated to advance landmark legislation and to guide the organization through the continuous evolution that enables us to be a powerful force for change. We will miss Debra greatly, but thanks to her leadership, we are confident that the organization will continue to drive our nation toward greater equity and justice.”

As president of the National Partnership, Debra has advanced policy solutions to support those who face the greatest barriers to opportunity in our country. Throughout her tenure, Debra:

  • Elevated the ways that health and economic policies intersect in women’s lives and shape their wellbeing, economic security, and ability to care for their families. Debra successfully built the National Partnership’s extensive health policy expertise and played a key role in shaping and enacting the Affordable Care Act, one of the greatest advancements for women’s health in a generation.
  • Fought for reproductive rights, health, and justice to be integrated and prioritized in the quest for better health and economic justice. Debra worked to center the fundamental right of all women to control whether and when to become a parent, including equitable access to abortion care and comprehensive, high-quality maternal health care that eliminates the racial gaps in maternal mortality and outcomes.
  • Advocated for policies to make workplaces more equitable and help women and people of color achieve greater economic security and opportunity, including paid leave, paid sick days, protections for pregnant workers, fair pay, freedom from harassment, access to health coverage and better working conditions.
  • Raised the national imperative to invest in caregiving as essential not just to individual women and families, but to our economy and society. Under Debra’s leadership, the organization elevated the ways that devaluation of caregiving work, paid and unpaid, is rooted in racism and sexism, and disproportionately harms women and workers of color.
  • Led the National Partnership to explicitly center the compounded effects of gender and race discrimination and to promote solutions that challenge the status quo and dismantle the systemic and structural roots of inequity.

In the coming months, the board of the National Partnership for Women & Families will conduct an inclusive search to identify the next president. The board will seek an individual who shares the organization’s values and has the skills and passion to lead the National Partnership in this next stage of advancing our mission and vision.

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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