- Fall 2009
Kim Gandy served two terms as president of the National Organization for Women, elected by the group's grassroots members in 2001 and again in 2005. She served as a national officer of NOW since 1987 and in state, local and regional leadership positions since 1973.
Gandy was also president of the NOW Foundation, chair of NOW's Political Action Committees, and served as the principal spokesperson for all three entities. Gandy oversaw NOW's multi-issue agenda, which includes: advancing reproductive freedom, promoting diversity and ending racism, stopping violence against women, winning LGBT rights, ensuring economic justice, ending sex discrimination and achieving equality for women.
Beginning in 2001, Gandy led NOW's campaigns on issues ranging from Supreme Court nominations to the rights of mothers and caregivers, from Social Security reform to ending the war in Iraq. Through grassroots political action, Gandy helped increase the women's vote and change the face of Congress in 2006 and 2008 and the White House in 2008.
Gandy regularly appears in print, television, radio and internet media, and she appreciates the enormous impact the media have on women's lives. Under her direction, NOW has continued a decades-long commitment to media issues, such as expanding women's opportunities in the broadcast industry, increasing news coverage of women's issues, and improving the portrayal of women and girls in advertising and all media.
During Gandy's presidency, NOW celebrated its 40 year anniversary, organized conferences on issues affecting women of color and women with disabilities, campaigned against Wal-Mart as a Merchant of Shame, and expanded efforts to win equal marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples. Through the creation of NOW's Campus Action Network and the Young Feminist Task Force, Gandy demonstrated a commitment to reaching out to young women and encouraging their leadership in the organization.
During her first presidential term, Gandy was one of the lead organizers of The March for Women's Lives in 2004. Gandy was a key organizer of the 1989 and 1992 marches, and her expertise in mass actions helped ensure that 1.15 million activists made the 2004 march for women's reproductive freedom the largest and most diverse grassroots mobilization in our nation's history.
In the legislative arena, Gandy served on the drafting committees for two groundbreaking federal laws: the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which gave women the right to a jury trial and monetary damages in cases of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which has dramatically decreased the daily violence at abortion clinics. In addition, Gandy led the fight against anti-abortion terrorists through the landmark racketeering case NOW v. Scheidler, which was in litigation for two decades and reached the Supreme Court three times.
In 1991 Gandy directed the WomenElect 2000 Project, a nine-month grassroots organizing and candidate recruiting effort in Louisiana which tripled the number of women in the legislature, elected the state's first woman Lieutenant Governor, and helped to defeat former Klansman David Duke for Governor.
A long-time activist, Gandy served three years as Louisiana NOW President, where she was active in local politics anddrafted several critical bills, including the state's first Domestic Abuse Assistance Act and the Child Support Enforcement Act, which was used as model legislation by the National Conference of State Legislators. She was elected to the NOW National Board in 1982 and held the position of Mid-South Regional Director for four years before being elected to national office.
Gandy graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 1973 with a B.S. in mathematics and education. Her NOW involvement inspired her to attend law school, and she received her law degree in 1978 from Loyola University School of Law, where she was a member of the Loyola Law Review and the National Moot Court Team. Gandy went on to serve as a Senior Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, and later opened a private trial practice, litigating countless cases seeking fair treatment for women.
Currently, she resides in Silver Spring, Md., with her husband Dr. Christopher "Kip" Lornell, an ethnomusicologist and part-time Professor of Music at George Washington University. They have two daughters, Elizabeth Cady Lornell and Katherine Eleanor Gandy.
Kim Gandy’s Study Group:
WINNING ACROSS PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENTS