Issue 53
December 2019
Nominate! Select! Celebrate 2020 Women of Achievement!
You still have time to nominate the remarkable, outrageous, generous women in your circles for the 2020 Women of Achievement awards.

Seven awards will be given on March 29 to honor women from Memphis and Shelby County for Courage, Determination, Heroism, Initiative, Steadfastness and Vision as well as the Heritage award for a woman from our past. This celebration of National Women’s History Month will be held at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis. Get your tickets today.

But before that, find the 2020 nomination form on our website. The deadline is midnight Jan. 13. And all who join WA can participate in the selection committees which will meet on Jan. 25. To participate in the selection process, reserve your place on eventbrite.

Read about past honorees and see a complete list from 35 years at
Blast the 'Winter Blahs'
and Support the Council

The Women’s Council board invites you and all others looking for a fun way to support women’s advocacy to Women, Whiskey and Chocolate on Thursday, Jan. 30.

The party pairing delicious chocolates with local whiskeys is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the gallery of ANF Architects, 1500 Union. Get your tickets today.

Fine whiskey, yummy chocolate, great women, wine and other treats – see you there!
Women Murdered – Who Cares?
In France, “femicide” typically means killing of a woman by her partner or ex-partner. One woman is killed every three days – and about a quarter of those are women 65 and over but largely left out of the calculation as their deaths are misclassified as mercy killings or suicide pacts.

In Paris 150,000 recently protested; thousands more thronged the streets in other cities.

On Nov. 25, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the government would invest an additional $396 million in domestic violence prevention efforts, including the creation of 1,000 new women’s shelters and a 24-hour domestic abuse hotline. The government has also pledged to seize firearms from abusive spouses and better train police. Activists are demanding more. While the official count of femicides in France in 2019 is 116, advocates say the total was 138 in late November and that “a deeply sexist society” means women are not believed and police do not intervene to save lives.

Meanwhile, in the United States, there is no clear definition of femicide. So Dawn Wilcox, a nurse in Texas, spends her free time adding names to a list, sometimes as many as 50 at one time. From the

"From her home in a quiet cul de sac in Plano, Texas, Wilcox runs  Women Count USA  – a project honoring victims of what she believes to be America’s unseen crisis: femicide.

Wilcox has spent much of the past two years scouring online news stories and social media for reports on women and girls killed by men in the US. She compiles their names in a publicly available spreadsheet and shares details about their lives and deaths with nearly 6,000 people on the Women Count USA Facebook page.

It is no small task. By Wilcox’s count, in 2018 it happened to at least 1,600 women and girls from Alaska to New York, of all races, ages and income status. They were killed in their beds and in their cars, at work and in yoga class, by their fathers, husbands, ex-boyfriends, cousins, sons, neighbors and strangers..."

She started the project after the killings of  Cecil the lion  and  Harambe the gorilla . There was such outrage over the animals’ deaths, and while Wilcox is an animal lover, she didn’t understand why there wasn’t the same level of concern for murdered women. “People are starting petitions and they’re marching and I’m like I just heard about three women killed today, what about them?”

Read the full piece on The Guardian's website.
The Women’s Council
Needs Your Support
Women of Achievement, Memphis Says No More, the rape kit task force, workplace training on domestic violence, campus outreach on sexual assault, trauma training for law enforcement... the Women’s Council has lots to do in 2020.

See our 2019 brochure with photos and details of this year’s successes at
And make your donation to keep this work fueled for 2020. Just scroll down and click the little yellow "donate" button.

We are here, with 16 years of actions and achievements, outreach and training, advocacy and change, thanks to the women who founded the Memphis Area Women’s Council in 2003 and launched its work in spring 2004.

We salute them with enormous gratitude as we enlarge our work in 2020:

  • Dr. Phyllis Betts, sociologist, director of the Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action at the University of Memphis School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, retired

  • Ruby Bright, executive director and CAO, Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis

  • Mary Durham, community activist

  • Naomi Dyson, president, Women of Achievement, 2003-2005

  • Dr. Nancy Hardt, obstetrician, director of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Women’s Institute, retired; national activist on trauma-informed community services model

  • Happy Jones, community activist, deceased

  • Dr. Barbara Ellen Smith, director of the University of Memphis Center for Research on Women, retired
Rampant Rape, Murder Spurs Worldwide Protests
Titled  “Un violador en tu camino”  (A Rapist in Your Path), a song and dance piece protesting rape that began in Chile late last month is spreading across the globe.

It was birthed by the feminist art collective called LasTesis at a protest in Valparaiso, Chile, in late November to draw attention to violence against women. Since then it has been created in Colombia, Mexico, France, India, the United States, Tunisia and Turkey by hundreds of thousands of women.

Blindfolded and in long lines, with synchronized swaying and squatting and pointing, women chant:

The patriarchy is a judge who tries us for being born and our punishment is the violence you now see.

It’s femicide, impunity for my murderer, it’s disappearance, it’s rape.

And it wasn’t my fault, not where I was, nor how I was dressed (x4).

You were the rapist; you are the rapist.

It’s the police, the judges, the state, the president. The oppressive state is a macho rapist (x2).

The rapist was you. The rapist is you.

Sleep calmly, innocent girl, without worrying about the criminal because your policeman lover is watching over your sweet and smiling dreams.

You are the rapist (x4).

According to the United Nations , a third of all   women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and half of women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family. In the US,  some studies show that a staggering 70 percent  of women have been abused.
Says the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Rape isn’t an isolated brief act. It damages flesh and reverberates in memory.”

click here to support the Women's Council today