Member Mondays: Theresa Browning

Tell us who you are and what you do:

Theresa (left), pictured with her mother, Mrs. Browning

Theresa (left), pictured with her mother, Mrs. Browning

I have spent 25 years in nonprofit communications in Indiana, marketing various products and services to local, state and national audiences. Ten years ago I transferred into the development office and loved the relationship-building principles practiced. I obtained my CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) credential last year, which has emboldened my desire to help nonprofits succeed.

What is your involvement with NOW, and why did you get involved?

My first job out of college was at an abortion clinic in the '80s when they were being bombed, picketed by Operation Rescue and actually invaded by protestors trying to handcuff themselves to the exam tables. The latter happened my second day on the job. I attended a NOW rally to network for volunteers and was "wowed" by the spirit, solidarity and enlightened attitudes of the women and men I met. I joined the Indy chapter then worked on the state level. I attended regional and national conferences and learned parliamentary procedures from the pros who were as skilled (or more so) than members of Congress. I always learned of trends and issues from NOW and other feminists before mainstream (or any really) media were paying attention to it.

I learned about the dual oppressors of race and gender. I witnessed it in the workplace when louder, male voices received more attention and affirmation, even when they were merely repeating what a woman had said earlier.

I had always believed in fairness growing up, and noticed the lack of equality in my parents relationship (treading lightly here to not disclose more than family would wish). I had cheered for Billie Jean King in her tennis match v. Bobby Riggs in the 70s. I recalled how I was discouraged from "showing off" and not "looking too smart" or I might be seen as "snobby." I was asked in my second job if I was going to get pregnant and quit. I was finally starting to connect the dots thanks to NOW.

How do you define “feminism”?


Of NOW’s six priority issues, where are you most channeling your energy?

I am honored to have received an "honorary lesbian" button from my NOW sisters and am a proud donor to Indiana Youth Group to help young people struggling to find allies and feel less alone. I am horrified by the continued injustice happening to my black and brown friends in economic and judicial processes. Lately I've seen the economic impact of a generation of "homemaker" moms who are now living on survivor benefits and wondered how women's economic woes might be righted.

When you aren’t working towards social change, what do you do for fun in your life?

Garden. Laugh with friends and family.