Arizona Foundation for Women selects award-winning journalist, author and empowerment advocate Gretchen Carlson as its 2020 Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree.
Ms. Carlson is known for paving the way for #MeToo with her historic 2016 sexual harassment complaint against the chairman of Fox News.
Named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and author of “Getting Real” and the New York Times bestseller “Be Fierce,” Ms. Carlson is one of America’s most successful news anchors and a globally recognized advocate for women’s empowerment, according to a press release.
Arizona Foundation for Women is recognizing Ms. Carlson at its annual luncheon for her advocacy work around women’s empowerment, rights and equality, as well as her philanthropic efforts.
“Courageous, tenacious and a fighter is what resonates with me when I think of Gretchen Carlson,” said Arizona Foundation for Women CEO Mesha Davis in a prepared statement. “Gretchen’s tough fight for justice despite the possible negative implications is truly remarkable and exactly why she is deserving of the Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement award and what our foundation stands for.”
Since her harassment complaint became public, Ms. Carlson has worked fearlessly to change laws that protect predators. In December 2017, she joined a bi-partisan coalition of legislators to introduce the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act,” which voids forced arbitration agreements that prevent sexual harassment survivors from getting their day in court.
More recently, Ms. Carlson, along with former FOX News colleagues Julie Roginsky and Diana Falzone, launched Lift Our Voices, a national organization dedicated to ending the harmful practice of mandatory Non-Disclosure Agreements, confidentiality provisions and forced arbitration clauses that have prevented employees from publicly discussing and disclosing toxic workplace conditions, including sexual harassment and assault.
Ms. Carlson returned to television in 2019 with a three-part documentary deal with A+E Originals. Ms. Carlson executive produced and hosted the three documentary specials, one of which examined the untold stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
Ms. Carlson has partnered with indie studio Blumhouse Television, the studio behind Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice,” to develop a forthcoming interview series.
Ms. Carlson will receive the Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement Award on March 16, at The Westin Kierland Resort during the Foundation’s annual Awards Luncheon.
The Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement Award is given annually to a woman who has distinguished herself through her leadership and contributions to society through her lifetime achievements, especially for work, which benefits women and families. Past honorees include Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Maria Shriver, Ashley Judd and Soledad O’Brien, to name a few.
“I am honored to accept the Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of all women,” said Ms. Carlson in a prepared statement.
“As a fellow graduate of Stanford University, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has been a role model to me my entire life. She paved the way for women like me to follow our dreams; becoming a national television journalist and more recently an advocate for all women to find the courage to stand up, speak up and no longer be silenced. I never intended to ignite a cultural shift by calling out sexual harassment in the workplace, but trailblazers like Justice O’Connor laid the foundation for me to fight for equal rights, equal treatment and respect. Thank you to the Arizona Foundation for Women for selecting me to receive such a prestigious award.”
Arizona Foundation for Women Board Chairman Jon Eliason said Ms. Carlson’s work as an advocate and a philanthropist for women’s causes makes her more than deserving of recognition.
“Gretchen’s campaign to bring light to dark places (secret arbitration clauses) is one that she has lived and her voice will help women to succeed in the workplace,” Mr. Eliason said in a prepared statement.
Ms. Carlson will be joined by two other honorees at the 2020 Awards Luncheon fundraiser.
Christi Paul will receive the Voice of Women Award which is given to an individual who has demonstrated their ability to inform the world about women’s issues. Ms. Paul is an anchor at CNN New Day as well as an anchor and reporter at HLN.
Ms. Paul bravely shared her personal experience facing verbal and emotional abuse in her 2012 book “Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt.” Ms. Paul previously worked as an anchor and reporter at local Phoenix news stations KNXV and KTVK.
Barbara L. Strachan is selected to receive the Marilyn R. Seymann Award. This award is named after the founder of Arizona Foundation for Women and was created to honor an Arizonan who has made a difference in the lives of women and children here in the state.
Ms. Strachan is the director of social impact programs for Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council and is the recipient of the FBI Directors Community Leadership Award for programs serving young women in Arizona.
Arizona Foundation for Women’s mission is to advance the status of Arizona’s women through research, advocacy and philanthropy to ensure their safety, health and economic independence. Domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking are a few areas of focus for the foundation.