Jocelyn Frye Named President of National Partnership for Women & Families

Frye’s vision for the organization centers on elevating and advancing three pillars for women’s progress: equity and opportunity, care and community, and a commitment to centering the diverse experiences of women, across race and ethnicity, to drive more inclusive change

Today, the National Partnership for Women & Families announced that its Board of Directors selected Jocelyn Frye to serve as its next president, beginning on December 1st. Frye is the third president and first Black woman to lead the organization in its 50-year history, succeeding Debra Ness and Judith Lichtman. Frye’s innovative vision for the National Partnership includes centering three core pillars of women’s progress — prioritizing equity and anti-racism to expand opportunity, creating care-centered communities and transforming the health and economic policies that shape women’s lives, and elevating the diverse experiences and challenges facing women, particularly women of color, to ensure a more inclusive understanding of who women are and what they need to thrive.

Frye currently serves as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress where she shapes and advocates for policies focused on women’s economic security, women’s employment, and women’s rights. Prior to joining the Center for American Progress, Frye spent four years working in the White House under President Obama — serving as deputy assistant to the president and director of policy and special projects for First Lady Michelle Obama. In her role at the White House, Frye helped shape and advance the first lady’s key policy priorities including the Let’s Move and Joining Forces initiatives and a White House mentoring program focused on young women in the local DC metropolitan community. Frye, who currently serves on the National Partnership’s board, will be returning to work at the organization where she previously spent 15 years focusing on employment and gender discrimination issues, starting as a staff attorney, and eventually becoming its general counsel.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jocelyn back to the National Partnership for Women & Families to serve as its next president, following an extensive and competitive search,” said R. May Lee, National Partnership for Women & Families Board Vice Chair and Head of the Search Committee. “Jocelyn joins our organization at a key inflection point as the challenges and barriers facing women are taking center stage. Jocelyn’s vision of centering equity in all of our work will help the National Partnership rise to the moment to make real and lasting changes to the lives of women across the country, especially those who have been left behind for too long.”

“I am excited and deeply honored to join the National Partnership for Women & Families at this critical moment when so much is at stake for women and women’s progress,” said Jocelyn Frye, incoming President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “From a young age it was clear to me that the opportunities available to women, the expectations and assumptions about what women could do, and the ability of women to chart their own course were influenced enormously by race, ethnicity, gender, economic status, and other factors. I have always believed that improving women’s lives requires an unflinching commitment to transformative change, to unravel entrenched biases and tackle head on the systemic barriers facing women, and women of color in particular, that have been used to stand in the way of their success. We also must embrace an inclusive vision of gender to encompass and be responsive to the economic and health challenges faced by many gender minorities. I look forward to working, strategizing, and creating solutions with the National Partnership staff as we begin the next chapter of the organization together. Our work is needed now more than ever to secure economic and health justice, advance equity and opportunity, prioritize access to care and care supports, and center the needs of women of color and those experiencing the harshest disparities in the nation’s policy priorities.”

To address the core pillars for women’s progress, Frye will lead the team at the National Partnership to advance policies and practices to redefine what equitable environments look like and counter longstanding barriers. The organization will focus on identifying and pursuing the full range of connected policies such as paid leave, care worker investments, greater maternal health supports, and meaningful access to reproductive health and abortion care and to address the care needs of women and their families throughout their lives as essential investments. The National Partnership will prioritize advocacy and research that examine and address how race, ethnicity, economic status, gender identity, age, disability status, sexual orientation, and other factors can work in tandem to create unique challenges for women and call for intentional, targeted policy solutions that directly respond to the challenges.

“This is a historic moment for the National Partnership. Jocelyn brings an exciting vision for our organization, strong leadership skills and extensive advocacy experience that will be incredibly valuable as we work to address one of society’s biggest challenges — the inequities that impact the lives of women, people of color and families around the country,” said Sharis Pozen, Chair of the Board of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

“Having worked with Jocelyn closely over the years, I know that she brings the vision, skills, experience and passion to be an extraordinary leader, and to guide this great organization in the next stage of its journey,” said Debra Ness, outgoing president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “It is so gratifying to pass the privilege of leading the National Partnership to someone I so genuinely respect and admire. I know firsthand, Jocelyn’s deep and abiding commitment to achieving equity for all women and families, and that she has lived that commitment in every facet of her personal and professional life.”

“For 50 years, the National Partnership for Women & Families has championed the issues that make a difference in the lives of women — from paid leave to abortion rights to addressing health inequities,” said Judith Lichtman, the first president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “At a time when the challenges facing women have taken center stage, Jocelyn will be a fantastic leader, bridge builder and advocate to help us better the lives of women around the country.”

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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