Press Release
Leading Women’s Group Honors Family Leave Champion Senator Dodd, “North Country” Attorney Paul Sprenger And Wall Street Trailblazer Madelyn Antoncic

The National Partnership for Women & Families today marked 35 years of progress in making workplaces more fair and family- friendly, and improving the quality and affordability of health care at a gala luncheon recognizing U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), legendary attorney Paul Sprenger, and Wall Street’s Madelyn Antoncic. More than 1,000 women and men from the women’s, civil rights, legal, corporate and advocacy communities attended the event.

Senator Dodd is a champion of women and working families. He was a driving force behind enactment of the Family & Medical Leave Act, and is working tirelessly to improve health care and make it possible for more workers to take time off to care for important family and medical needs. “No elected official has been a greater champion of women and families than our keynote speaker, Senator Dodd,” National Partnership President Debra L. Ness said. “He has been a leader and an inspiration to all of us in making America more family- friendly. He has built a career reaching across lines of party and dogma, standing out and standing strong. Senator Dodd helps me believe that our progress over the next 35 years can outshine everything we have accomplished so far.”

A founding partner at Sprenger & Lang, Sprenger is a pioneer who has spent his career helping victims of employment discrimination fight for justice. He spearheaded the legal victory against Eveleth Mines in the nation’s first-ever class action lawsuit on sexual harassment the case depicted in the film, North Country. “It took a great deal of work for this nation to recognize that sexual harassment was illegal discrimination that needed to be stopped,” Ness said. “It took the work of people like Paul Sprenger, who represented women miners when nobody else would. He secured a groundbreaking legal victory that has changed our nation. To us, he is as big a star as there is.”

Lehman Brothers Chief Risk Officer Madelyn Antoncic has held high- level positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital. Today she is Managing Director, Chief Risk Officer at Lehman Brothers and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. “Madelyn Antoncic is a woman of extraordinary achievement,” Ness said. “She has proved that promoting women of intelligence and diligence can be the very definition of a safe investment. We are proud and thrilled that she is with us today.”

Ness used the event to debunk the myth of the “opt-out revolution,” which she called a “media created, pop crisis in search of a kernel of truth.” She said that the likelihood that a woman will leave her job and go back to the home is half today what it was in 1984, and that women and men are forced to make tough choices because our society and workplaces have failed to accommodate working families. “In most families, both parents work because they have to, and millions of them still have trouble making ends meet,” she added.

Ellen Malcolm, Chairperson of the National Partnership’s Board of Directors and President and Founder of EMILY’s List spoke at the event.

WJLA-TV’s news anchor Maureen Bunyon served as emcee.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Lehman Brothers were the corporate co-chairs.

The National Partnership was a driving force behind enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, helped establish the fundamental principle that sexual harassment is illegal job discrimination, wrote and led the successful campaign to pass the Family & Medical Leave Act, helped win paid family leave in California, and this year helped defeat legislation that would have endangered critical health insurance protections Americans rely on.

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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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