Press Release
Actors Gabrielle Union and Kerry Washington Honored; Facebook/Lean In Leader Sheryl Sandberg Delivers Keynote Address; Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer Provides Corporate Perspective at Gala Held by Leading Women’s Group

The National Partnership for Women & Families held its annual gala this evening at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The star-studded event looked at the challenges facing the nation’s women and families and the programs and policies women need. Sheryl Sandberg, founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org and chief operating officer of Facebook, delivered the keynote address, focusing on the need for fair and equitable workplaces. Rosalind Brewer, group president and chief operating officer of Starbucks Coffee Company, discussed her company’s progress on achieving pay equity for its workforce, across race and gender.

Gabrielle Union, celebrated actor, producer, author, entrepreneur and women’s rights advocate and Kerry Washington, award-winning actor, producer and social justice activist were honored. “This event features four remarkable women, each of whom is using her platform, power and prestige to push back against injustice and make life better for women and families,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “Each is inspiring us to be better than we are; to do our part to win change.”

“At the National Partnership, we are in the business of change,” Ness added. “Our work is grounded in the lived experiences of women and families. When a minimum wage worker can’t pay her rent, we fight for a living wage. When a family loses its health coverage, we defend the Affordable Care Act. When a woman can’t get her mammogram, birth control or abortion care, we demand funding for Planned Parenthood. And, when a hotel worker without paid leave quits her job and is forced to use up the family’s savings to care for her husband with cancer, we advance paid family and medical leave.”

Citing progress, she added: “We’re working with allies in cities and states around the country to convince lawmakers to pass paid sick days and paid family and medical leave; to advance fair pay; and strengthen protections against pregnancy discrimination. We are helping states expand Medicaid and preserve health coverage. We are working with corporations that are standing up to the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant actions and leading the way on workplace policies that make our society more fair and just. We are fueling the energy and activism swelling up from the grassroots. And women are running voter registration drives, running campaigns and running for office while fueling movements like #MeToo and #TIMESUP.”

Sharis Arnold Pozen, who is vice chair of the National Partnership’s board of directors and General Electric’s vice president, global competition and antitrust, emceed the gala.

More information on the event, including video, will be available at

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

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.

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