MAKERS Profile

Amy Richards

Co-Founder, Third Wave Foundation

In this video

Amy Richards on the next generation of feminist activism and finding normalcy in being different.
Richards is best known for creating the Third Wave Foundation as well as for her writings on contemporary feminism. Besides her books, Manifesta, Grassroots and Opting In, Richard’s writings and opinions can be found in numerous anthologies and media outlets, including NPR, The New York Times, Bitch, The Chicago Tribune, and, where she’s hosted her Ask Amy advice column since 1995. She is the president of Soapbox: Speakers Who Speak Out, the creators of Feminist Summer Camp and the foremost feminist lecture agency. Richards came of age as the women’s movement was navigating the shoals of backlash in late 1980s and early 1990s.  Galvanized by renewed attacks on reproductive freedom, the Anita Hill hearings, the Rodney King trial, and the William Kennedy Smith rape trial, Richards was among a small cohort of self-described “Third Wave” feminists who sought to make the next push for feminism, broadening the movement’s concerns to more completely include issues of gender, sexuality and class. In her mid-twenties, Richards co-founded the Third Wave Foundation, a national organization for young feminist activists between the ages of 15 and 30.   Amy’s leadership and visionary work launched her as a primary spokesperson and leading voice for young feminist issues for the past twenty years. Richards lectures frequently about the state of feminism and has traveled the world representing feminism in America.  Her television appearances have taken her from Oprah to The O’Reilly Factor. She has won numerous awards for her activism, including “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” from both Women’s eNews and Ms. magazine.  Amy graduated from Barnard College in 1992 with a BA in Art History and has lived in New York City ever since.

More From Amy

Becoming Indispensible
Richards talks about interning for Ted Kennedy and how she learned to use a "girl job" to her advantage.

Strong, Masculine Leaders
We've always associated strong leadership with strong masculinity.  Richards realizes this may be a dangerous assumption.

Feminists in Other Fields
Young feminists are not missing in action, they're just busy making contributions in other important political arenas.

Young Women's Confidence
Richards defends young women against critics who fret that they are "so scantily clad."

Everyday Activism
Being an activist doesn't need to mean protesting in the streets.  Richards points to the small acts of activism in our everyday lives.

Men & Feminism
Richards on why men have just as much to gain from feminism as women.

Gloria's Unfettered Mind
Richards explains why Gloria Steinem's mind is always ten years ahead of the curve.

Relationship with Gloria
Richards describes how her relationship with Gloria Steinem began and the priceless dynamic that persists.

Running for School President
Richards very first political feminist act was running for high school president.

Mixed Messages at Home
Richards describes the confusion that arises when moms preach one thing about female empowerment but practice another at home.

A New Generation's Concerns
Richards argues that it's okay that younger women can't relate to life before Roe v. Wade. They have their own set of feminist concerns.

Why Feminism is Frightening
Richards discusses why feminism challenges people and what a world more infused with feminism would mean.